The San Jose Sharks are in a fight with the Anaheim Ducks to see who takes home the Pacific Division title and gets to avoid playing the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs.
The Sharks lost to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on a late power play goal by Tobias Enstrom on Thursday night and hold a two point lead in the Pacific on the Ducks. The Sharks’ problem is that the Ducks have three games in hand.
As Kevin Kurz at CSNBayArea.com shares, San Jose knows they can’t lose games like that or else they’ll put themselves in trouble.
“We can’t give away points,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve given away a few too many lately. [Anaheim] has got the games in hand. If they do their job they’ll be there, but there’s still quite a bit of hockey left.”
That is true, there’s a lot of hockey to go, and when you look at the remaining schedules for the Ducks and Sharks, there are landmines to be found all over.
Out of the Ducks’ remaining 13 games, they have three games with Edmonton. However, their final four games are at Vancouver, home against the Sharks, at Los Angeles, and home against Colorado. Yikes.
Of their final 10 games, San Jose has two left against Colorado and close the season in Phoenix against a Coyotes team that may be fighting to make the playoffs.
As always, the mantra this time of year is, “Just win, baby.” Saying it and actually doing it are very different things.
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.
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?
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.