JohnGibson

Kings must ‘make [Gibson’s] job a lot harder,’ says Richards

4 Comments

John Gibson’s first-ever Stanley Cup playoff appearance went great, posting a 28-save shutout.

But if the Kings have anything to say about it, his second will be much more difficult.

“I know he’s calm and cool or whatever, but it’s our job to make his job a lot harder,” Mike Richards said, per the L.A. Times. “It’s a tough situation that he’s put in, with [Saturday] night maybe, possibly, their season on the line.

“It’s now a best-of-three series, so it’s a lot of pressure to put on a young kid.”

The Kings are familiar with the “get-after-the-goalie” narrative, especially given what Jonathan Quick’s faced this postseason. In the opening round against San Jose, the Sharks made getting in Quick’s kitchen a priority and Mike Brown was the main instigator in the early part of the series, twice sending Kings players into Quick in the opening two games.

From CSN Bay Area:

For the second straight game, Brown shoved a Kings player into Jonathan Quick, this time sending Tyler Toffoli flying into the crease in the first period.

“That’s the way I have to play. I didn’t think he was next to the goalie,” Brown said of the play. “I think Quick just fell back. Nothing intentional. I obviously want to get in and kind of rattle him, but it was nothing intentional. Just playing the hockey game.”

Here’s the second, the aforementioned Toffoli shove:

Getting in Quick’s head — or, at least attempting to — was San Jose’s M.O. throughout the series, though you could certainly question the strategy given 1) the Sharks underwent one of the biggest collapses in Stanley Cup playoff history, and 2) Quick got better the more they bumped him.

Still, the Ducks also made a point of getting physical with Quick after he stopped 69 of the 72 shots he faced in the first two games of the series, and had some success with it. Prior to Game 3, big-bodied forward Patrick Maroon explaining exactly what the Ducks planned to do.

“[Quick’s]seeing a lot of pucks. We need to get in his eyes, get in his head a bit,” Maroon said, per the L.A. Times. “We need to crash and bang, go to the net. We need all 20 of us. It’s what we’ve been doing all year. I think we have the character to do that.”

Since then, the Ducks have scored five times on 33 shots and chased Quick from Game 4.

Now the Kings are vowing to increase traffic in front of Gibson.

“We need to do more to get to him. We gave him too many easy shots and we didn’t crash the net and get people in front of him,” Drew Doughty said. “He played good, but we’ve got to do a better job.”

‘There’s still lots of room for growth’: Stars GM preaches patience with Nichushkin

Valeri Nichushkin
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Valeri Nichushkin has the tools — listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 205 pounds with devastating speed. He has the skill.

However, now at the end of his entry-level contract, the 10th overall draft pick for the Dallas Stars in 2013 has endured the highs and lows associated with a young player trying to make his mark in the National Hockey League after a promising rookie campaign.

For starters, his sophomore 2014-15 season was essentially wiped out — he played only eight games for the Stars — by a hip injury that required surgery. He also didn’t get off to the greatest start this season, and coming back from surgery likely played a factor as to why, as he found his way into Lindy Ruff’s doghouse early on.

As a result, was made a healthy scratch.

His bottom line offensive numbers included nine goals and 29 points in 79 games played, and one assist in 10 playoff games for the Stars, as they were eliminated in the second round.

Still, he’s just 21 years old. When playing with top players like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, he was able to get on a bit of a roll offensively.

Stars GM Jim Nill, speaking on SiriusXMNHL, referenced the difficulty for a young player coming back off surgery, but remains confident in Nichushkin.

“We’re happy with Val,” he said (at around the 5:30 mark).

“Came back this year, got off to a slow start because of that. We thought the last five games of the playoffs, he really started to look like himself. He started to dominate down low and in the corners.

“He is only 21. I know there’s still lots of room for growth, so we’re going to be patient with him. We think he’s a big part of our future.”

 

Coyotes hire new COO

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Jets defeated the Coyotes 6-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty
Leave a comment

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes have hired Anaheim Ducks executive Ari Segal as chief operating officer.

The move was announced by the team on Wednesday.

Segal previously served as a special assistant to Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman and as president of business operations for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Segal helped with preparations for the new AHL club and recently worked with the NHL in the league’s broadcast media strategy group, evaluating league and team broadcast rights and distribution deals.

Segal previously worked as an associate in the sports practice at McKinsey & Company, a New York-based management consulting firm.

Related: The Coyotes are going in a ‘new direction,’ and that’s an understatement

Jackets re-sign Sedlak, AHL affiliate’s leading playoff scorer

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 20:  Lukas Sedlak #85 of the Columbus Blue Jackets waits for the pass during the game against the Winnipeg Jets on September 20, 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Jets 5-1.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Columbus farmhand Lukas Sedlak, who currently sits tied atop AHL Lake Erie’s playoff scoring leaderboard, has signed a one-year, two-way deal, the Jackets announced on Wednesday.

Sedlak, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2011 that’s spent the last three years in the American League. This season was by far his most successful — in addition to potting a career-best 14 goals, he’s become close to a point-a-game producer in the playoffs, with 11 through 12 games.

“Sedlak has been on a run for us with goal-scoring,” Lake Erie head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s not a guy who does it for us every night. But he works so hard in all the other areas.”

Sedlak has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be in the mix for a recall next season.

Despite Canadian dollar, Bettman still expects ‘revenue increase’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answers a question during a news conference before the NHL All-Star hockey game skills competition, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP
Leave a comment

The Canadian dollar is trading at around $0.77 USD today. While that’s up considerably from where it was a few months ago, the damage has already been done to NHL revenues.

“If the Canadian dollar was still at par, we would be $100 or 200 million higher perhaps than we may find ourselves,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg Television today.

Having said that, Bettman still expects there will be a “revenue increase” compared to last year, adding that “we continue to grow year after year and set new records.”

More from Bloomberg:

Bettman said that while the NHL’s revenue growth has come across the entire business, the league has seen its biggest boon in its digital platform. The league last year signed a six-year, $1.2 billion contract with Major League Baseball’s interactive media and Internet arm, or BAM, to operate the its digital operations, streaming services and TV network. The NHL got a 10 percent stake as part the deal.

The NHL playoffs are currently in the middle of the conference finals. The NHL’s fiscal year ends June 30.

League revenues, of course, have a direct impact on the salary cap, and let’s face it, that’s the only thing most fans care about.

As of March, the cap was expected to grow from $71.4 million in 2015-16 to $74 million next season.

However, that projection assumed the NHLPA would accept the CBA’s standard five percent growth factor, and with escrow topping the list of player concerns, that’s no given.

The players’ association will discuss and make a decision on the growth factor at some point before July 1.

Related: Bowman noncommittal on Shaw and Bickell, needs to know salary cap first