Matt Cooke will draw play in tonight’s game against Chicago, his first since serving a seven-game suspension for kneeing Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie during the opening playoff round.
But not before a quick chat with head coach Mike Yeo.
“We’ll have a talk with him to make sure that his head’s in the right place as far as how he has to play the game,” Yeo said, per the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “He’s going to add, definitely, some speed. He’s going to add some physicality.”
Cooke will replace the injured Matt Moulson on Minnesota’s third line, alongside Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine. It’ll be interesting to see how the unit reacts to the change as, even with Moulson hobbled, it still performed well in a big Game 3 win — Moulson and Fontaine assisted on Haula’s game-winning goal in the third.
As for the team facing Cooke… well, the Blackhawks don’t seem all that concerned.
“I don’t think so,” Patrick Kane said about looking over his shoulder, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “He probably knows better now, where he can’t make any more hits that are going to affect himself or the team. When a player like that comes back in the lineup, [if] you worry about that player too much, it only affects yourself in a negative way.
“He can be an effective player, though.”
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.