Antoine Roussel

Stars gain two points on Coyotes for second West wild card spot


The Western Conference wild card standings still boast the same two teams, but the battle for the final playoff spot remains that much more wide-open after Saturday’s contests.

The Minnesota Wild strengthened their grip on the top wild card spot with a 3-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes while the Dallas Stars crept up on the Coyotes with a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues.

With that, the Stars are just one point behind the Coyotes for the final wild card position with a game in hand. In other words, the seesaw for the conference’s final playoff spot keeps moving in different directions, with things leaning toward Dallas on this night.

Being behind one point might not sound great, but consider this: the two teams meet in the final game of the 2013-14 season, so Dallas would probably be quite happy with even a one-point deficit after both teams finish Game 81.

The Wild faced the prospect of giving up their hold on the top wild card spot going into Saturday’s game, yet now they hold a three-point lead over the Wild for the seventh seed in the West and a four-point lead over Dallas (with one fewer game remaining). Those aren’t huge margins, yet that might be enough to distance themselves from the pack.

The Vancouver Canucks are still in action as of this writing, so here is a look at how those three teams alone are jostling for position:



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.