The Columbus Blue Jackets deserve a lot of credit for battling back from a 3-1 deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins to earn their franchise’s first playoff win. That being said, did Pittsburgh’s overconfidence and desire to add to an already comfortable lead contribute to the team’s downfall?
That was the verdict of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Joe Starkey. Or as he put it:
They never learn.
Every time the Penguins start to feel good about themselves, it seems they want to feel better. Good isn’t good enough. They are hockey’s great narcissists — hopelessly addicted to their own wondrous skill.
One example of what Starkey is referring to was Pittsburgh’s decision to put out four forwards during a Columbus penalty midway through the second period. The Blue Jackets scored nine shorthanded goals in the regular season and had already added another to that list in Game 1 of this series.
So even down a man, the Blue Jackets are a threat to score, and they did, narrowing the Penguins’ lead to just one goal:
“The shorthanded goal for us was, I thought, the difference maker in the game,” Blue Jackets coach Todd RIchards told the Columbus Dispatch’ Aaron Portzline. “It gave hope to our guys.”
It was also the byproduct of “sheer Penguins arrogance,” according to Starkey.
Columbus went on to earn a 4-3 double-overtime victory. Pittsburgh has now allowed at least three goals in 15 of its last 23 playoff contests, dating back to 2012.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?