Jaromir Jagr

Czechs open with Jagr, Plekanec on top line


The Czech Republic skated on Monday in preparation of Wednesday’s Olympic opener against Sweden and, as several pundits expected, iced a top line featuring New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec and former Calgary forward Roman Cervenka:

Jagr has a history with Cervenka dating back to their days in the KHL. In 2009-10, Cervenka teamed with Jagr to play for Avangard Omsk, and the pair emerged as one of the league’s most dynamic scoring duos. The following year, with Jagr in Philly, Cervenka shouldered the load solo and wound up leading the KHL in playoff scoring (22 points in 20 games.) Plekanec, who will serve as the Czech captain in Sochi, has been a linemate of Jagr’s at a number of international events.

According to Sport CT’s Robert Zaruba, the remaining Czech lines look like this:

Jakub Voracek-David Krejci-Ondrej Palat

Petr Nedved-Patrik Elias-Martin Erat

Michael Frolik-Jiri Novotny-Milan Michalek

Edmonton’s Ales Hemsky and Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal looked to be the extras, though that could be largely due to their health. Hemsky was dealing with an ankle injury prior to the Olympics, while Hanzal fell ill prior to the break and missed a game against Chicago.

On defense, Zaruba has it:

Marek Zidlicky-Zbynek Michalek

Michal Rozsival-Tomas Kaberle

Radko Gudas-Ladislav Smid

Lukas Krajicek-Michal Barinka

Not much to glean from this, other than acknowledging three of the blueliners (Kaberle, Krajicek, Barinka) currently play in the Czech Extraliga, and made the team over NHL blueliners like St. Louis’ Roman Polak (injured at the time of roster selection), Colorado’s Jan Hejda and Detroit’s Jakub Kindl.

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.