At the age of 32, it would be overly dramatic to suggest that Henrik Lundqvist is running out of opportunities to win the Stanley Cup. And yet, after winning the Vezina Trophy and establishing himself as the New York Rangers’ all-time leader in wins and shutouts, his lack of a championship is the only glaring omission left on his resume.
“I just think, for me personally, the biggest goal I have left with my hockey is to win the Stanley Cup,” Lundqvist told Newsday. “For me, it’s exciting to think about it. It’s a challenge for me and for all of us here. It’s why we play.”
He’s one of the best goaltenders of his generation and he’s had some talent in front of him, but the Rangers haven’t been able to put it all together and Lundqvist has never led them past the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lundqvist added that it “surprises” him to what extent getting or falling short of winning the Stanley Cup defines a player’s legacy. His argument is that no individual is completely responsible for the outcome of a season and thus it shouldn’t be used as a litmus test when judging a star’s worth.
At the same time, there’s no question as to what he wants. The Rangers might not be regarded as a favorite to capture the Cup this season, but it wouldn’t be a Cinderella story if they do win. The talent and opportunity is there for Lundqvist to finally be a champion.
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.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi ranks among the NHL’s most outspoken executives. Even so, his discussion of what he calls 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.” (Bold claim: the production part was probably the bigger sticking point.)
- 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 Lombardi and 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.