Marcus Foligno, Tom Wilson

NHL on NBCSN: Struggling Sabres host slumping Capitals


NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Washington Capitals at First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

Things haven’t been great for either the Washington Capitals or the Buffalo Sabres of late.

We saw the Sabres get shut out on the road 3-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins last night on NBCSN. Ryan Miller did everything he could while Marc-Andre Fleury stoned them. The loss was their sixth in the past seven games. If there’s a silver lining here for Buffalo it comes in the form of the Capitals.

The Caps enter tonight’s tilt losers of seven of the past eight games and 11 of the past 14. Washington’s 5-0 win against Montreal on Saturday night stopped what was a seven-game losing streak and was able to get some positive mojo working for them.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The wild thing for the Caps? Despite all of the losses, they’re still just three points out of the final wild card spot in the East playoff race. The struggles of the Eastern Conference on the whole are helping keep the Caps (and just about everyone else) in the hunt.

The Caps will have to try to keep the wins coming without Mikhail Grabovski who is out with a lower-body injury. Alex Ovechkin returned against Montreal after missing time with a groin injury and had an immediate impact with a goal and an assist. They’ll also likely catch a break not having to face Miller as he played last night.

Miller earned two shootout wins against the Caps already this season stopping 77 of 79 shots and nine out of nine in the shootout in those two games. Instead, they’ll likely face Jhonas Enroth who has had a strong season as well in spite of his 1-10-4 record. The Capitals will counter with either Braden Holtby or Michal Neuvirth in goal to stop a Sabres offense that’s last in the league.

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick

Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.

Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.

Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).


A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:

Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.

It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.


After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.

Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.