Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Tarasenko, Barret Jackman

Blues have ‘important’ goal — win Presidents’ Trophy


Awarded annually to the top finisher in regular season, the Presidents’ Trophy has always been a weird one in NHL circles. While it’s a great accomplishment and all, it significantly pales in comparison to the Stanley Cup and, therefore, rarely gets spoken of in terms of something teams really want to win.

But the St. Louis Blues are changing that.

“Our goal was to lead the division at the Olympic break and we did that, and now the goal is to try to win the Presidents’ Trophy,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said, per the Post-Dispatch. “What the heck, that’s important to us.”

First handed out in 1985-86, the Presidents’ Trophy has only gone to St. Louis one time — the 1999-2000 team, which set a franchise record for wins (51) and points (114). Head coach Joel Quenneville won the Jack Adams that year, while Chris Pronger won the Hart and Norris Trophies.

This year, the Blues could challenge that ’99-00 team — at least in terms of wins and points (the individual awards seem less likely.) The Blues are on 42 wins and 90 points with 20 games left in the regular season, so they’ll need 10 victories and 25 points to set the records.

Finishing first would guarantee St. Louis home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs — important, as the Blues are 23-5-3 at Scottrade this year — and yield an easier matchup in the opening round. That’s a big deal in the loaded Western Conference, something the Blues know all too well. Last year, St. Louis finished as the No. 4 seed and drew the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in Round 1, eventually bowing out in six games.

Hitchcock is keenly aware that the highest seeding possible will be big for his team.

That’s why he’s gunning for the Presidents’ Trophy.

“It puts value in what’s left of these (20) games now and we want to take advantage of this,” he explained. “It’s important for our guys.”

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
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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.