Bolts sign ’12 first-rounder Vasilevskii


After much discussion, Tampa Bay has finally agreed to terms on an entry-level deal with goalie Andrei Vasilevskii, the 19th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Vasilevskii, 19, was targeted for an NHL deal by Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman shortly after the Bolts were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, but reports suggested the Russian netminder could remain in the KHL rather than head to North America next season, where he’s likely to be playing with AHL Syracuse.

Vasilevskii is considered to be one of the better young goaltending prospects on the planet. He went 14-8-5 with a .923 save percentage and 2.21 GAA for KHL club Salavat Yulaev Ufa this season, and appeared in 14 Gagarin Cup playoff games before getting bounced in the Eastern Conference finals by Metallurg.

Assuming Anders Lindback has played his last game in Tampa — and given how badly things went for the pending RFA in the playoffs, that is likely — it’s possible the Bolts could bump Latvian Olympic hero Kristers Gudlevskis up to become Ben Bishop’s full-time backup, and give Vasilevskiy the No. 1 gig in Syracuse as a result.

(Please note that, according to the Lightning, Vasilevskii’s surname will be spelled with two i’s, rather than they previous “iy” ending.)

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards
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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.

… Yeah.

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?

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.