On Friday, Mike Smith did what no goalie’s been able to in an awful long time.
Smith stopped all 29 Chicago shots faced at Jobing.com, registering a 2-0 shutout win for Phoenix — marking the first time the ‘Hawks have been shut out in nearly two full calendar years.
The last time Chicago was blanked during the regular season came on Feb. 25, 2012, a 4-0 defeat to the Kings. Since then, the ‘Hawks went the entire 48-game, lockout-shortened ’13 campaign without getting shut down, and made it through 59 games this year before running into Smith.
All told, Chicago went 126 regular season games scoring at least one goal.
While Smith was good on the night, this wasn’t just about goaltending. Chicago was without the services of leading scorer Patrick Kane (personal) and puck-moving defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower-body). Phoenix also played one of its more complete games of the season, holding a Chicago team that averages 33.4 shots per game (second in the NHL) to just 29.
As for the goals, Phoenix capitalized on the man advantage and got two PPGs from Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata.
With the win, the Coyotes jumped ahead of Vancouver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and the Coyotes will play once more before the Olympic break — tomorrow night in Dallas. Chicago remained two points up on St. Louis for tops in the Central Division and now won’t play again until Feb. 27, against the New York Rangers.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?