Last season, the Nashville Predators scored nine fewer goals than the league average, finishing with 216 in 82 frequently miserable games. In 2012-13, they finished dead-last in scoring.
It remains to be seen if Peter Laviolette can get more out of the Predators than Barry Trotz could in the brutal Central Division, but in his meeting with Predators fans on Sunday, the Tennessean reports that he wasn’t shy about his points of emphasis. While puck possession and development ranked among the buzzwords, the fans really got excited when that word “offense” popped up.
“I guess my thought process on the game and the style early on is that I decided to play with the puck, and I would rather play somewhere else other than my end,” Laviolette said at the Music City Sports Festival.
Newly hired assistant Kevin McCarthy believes that Laviolette can really help talented-yet-frustrated forwards such as Viktor Stalberg and Colin Wilson while Laviolette specifically seemed interested in developing Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok. It’s not surprising that Laviolette seems most excited about Seth Jones, though.
Speaking of assistants, the structure for next season appears to be in some question as of Sunday.
The team was excited to add Phil Housley to work with the team’s talented group of blueliners, which still seems to be the case. McCarthy is one of Laviolette’s “guys.” It’s not quite as clear if the Predators will bring back well-regarded goalie coach Mitch Korn (no contract for next season) and Lane Lambert (has one more year left, also sports remarkable hair).
Laviolette indicated that side will work itself out and it doesn’t sound like that put much of a damper on today’s celebration of offense.
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.