Just about any team that comes reasonably close to a playoff spot probably ponders a few “What if?” questions, but one could understand how the New Jersey Devils feel about their 0-13 shootout record from last season.
If you believe that the “skills competition” is a lot like a coin toss, the Devils probably wonder how different things might have been had they merely won six or seven extra points. After all, no 2013-14 playoff team won fewer than three shootouts and none lost more than nine.
(In fact, Puck Daddy points out that the Devils became the first team to lay a goose egg in the shootout over a full season.)
For some, that would be a matter of concern, but Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told the Bergen Record that he’s more concerned about what happens before a shootout takes place.
“I look at how we play during the 60 minutes because that’s what you have control of,” Lamoriello said. “The shootout is an individual thing and if you look at the history of the players who were on our roster last year and the sort of history of their success you would say, ‘How did this come about?’ But in saying that, it’s not a focus.”
Instead, the long-standing executive emphasized adding offense during the summer; he seems excited about acquiring Mike Cammalleri and intrigued about what Martin Havlat might accomplish if he’s healthy. Lamoriello also seems to think that the team can benefit from better luck with players who were already on the roster, whether it be improving young players or healthier campaigns for the likes of Ryane Clowe.
Then again, shootout time might present Cory Schneider with added opportunities to prove that he’s worth that big contract extension, 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.