Decision day in Dallas: Rome to be bought out, Fiddler going UFA

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A pair of veterans are on their way out of Dallas.

On Monday, the Stars waived defenseman Aaron Rome for the purpose of enacting a compliance buyout — their first, and the first of this year’s window — and had their contract offer to forward Vern Fiddler rejected.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Stars believe Fiddler is headed to free agency.

As for Rome, the buyout marks the end of a disappointing tenure in Dallas. Signed by ex-GM Joe Nieuwendyk in 2012, Rome got a relatively hefty three-year, $4.5 million deal despite the fact he’d never appeared in more than 56 games in a season.

Known mostly for his devastating hit on Nathan Horton during the ’11 Stanley Cup Final — and subsequent four-game suspension — Rome spent the majority of his time in Dallas dealing with foot, hip and other lower-body injuries, appearing in just 52 of a possible 130 regular-season games over the last two years.

With the buyout, the Stars will be freed of Rome’s $1.5 million cap hit and pay him $533,333 in salary over each of the next two seasons.

As for Fiddler, it’s not surprising he wants to test free agency. Reports surfaced during the year he was unhappy with his role in Dallas and, at one point, requested a trade. What’s more, this year’s free agent class is pretty thin — on Sunday, Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish said “it’s a good year to be a UFA,” — and Fiddler, a versatile center who won 52 percent of his draws last year, could garner interest from teams looking for depth down the middle.

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.