Doug Armstrong AP

Blues want ‘a goalie coach, not a goalie instructor,’ says Armstrong


In the aftermath of their disappointing first-round playoff exit, the Blues were expected to make some moves — and they have, though mostly in the goaltending department.

The shakeup started two weeks ago, when GM Doug Armstrong announced the club would be parting ways with goalie coach Corey Hirsch, who’d served in that capacity since 2010. That was followed by yesterday’s announcement of a three-year extension for Brian Elliott, a deal that signified the end of Ryan Miller’s tenure in St. Louis and the beginning of Jake Allen’s ascension to full-time NHL netminder, possibly as the Blues’ No. 1.

Following the Elliott extension, Armstrong said philosophical shift in how the club approaches goaltending wasn’t yet complete, as the new goalie coach would be exactly that — a coach.

“Ken [Hitchcock] wants to make sure we’re getting a goalie coach, not just a goalie instructor,” Armstrong said, per 1120 KMOX radio. “The difference is sometimes you have to say the uncomfortable things as a coach to push and prod players to be their best.

“So what we’re looking for is someone that’s got very strong technical skills, but someone to also push our goalies to be the best they can be.”

It’s important to remember Hitchcock inherited Hirsch, Elliott and Halak upon taking the St. Louis gig three years ago; outside of the Miller acquisition, he’s never really been able to stamp his authority on the goaltending position (and reportedly had beef with Halak at the end of last season.)

It’s a bit simplistic to point at goaltending as the reason for St. Louis’ postseason failures but, at least in the immediate aftermath of the defeat to Chicago, it’s the one area the Blues decided needed fixing.

As for who the Blues might hire to replace Hirsch? Well, in the KMOX interview, Armstrong said one of the reasons he brought Kirk Muller aboard is an assistant coach is that he liked the idea of having an ex-player on staff; in light of that, it’s worth noting former Blues ‘tender Ty Conklin has been the organization’s goalie development coach since 2013, and had his name floated as a potential replacement by the Post-Dispatch two weeks ago.

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

Mike Richards

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.

… Yeah.

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?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick

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.