Jason Brough

Brad Richards

UFA of the Day: Brad Richards


Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Brad Richards

Last summer, having just won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Richards was a fairly hot commodity in free agency. The veteran center signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings as soon as the market opened, for a cap hit of $3 million.

But Richards, now 36 years old, didn’t produce much for Detroit. He finished with just 10 goals and 18 assists in 68 regular-season games. He had one goal and was a minus-4 in five playoff games. The Red Wings have already told him they won’t be re-signing him before July 1, if at all.

A season like last might’ve convinced some players his age to consider retirement. But not Richards. Not yet.

“I want to look at free agency and see who calls and what opportunities are there, but I haven’t made my mind up with what I want to do yet,” he told The Guardian, a newspaper in his home province of Prince Edward Island.

“I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of great things in hockey, and hockey has been great to me. If it was time, I wouldn’t feel cheated, but I’m not there yet.”

Richards added that Detroit “just probably wasn’t a great fit for me,” and he believes a longer summer of rest and recuperation (compared to his previous two offseasons that followed long playoff runs) will help “quite a bit mentally and physically.”

It’s hard to imagine there won’t be at least one team that’s interested in adding the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Experience is still valued in the NHL, and Richards has plenty of that.

The question for any potential suitor is how much Richards can still contribute on the ice, in a league he admits is “a young, fast game now.”

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.

Composed Penguins didn’t get rattled by late Sharks equalizer


PITTSBURGH — Let’s face it, the Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t always been known for keeping their composure. In fact, prior to this playoff run they’re on, they’d developed quite the reputation for losing their cool in pressure situations.

But nobody could say the Penguins got knocked off their game tonight. Even after giving up a late equalizer to the San Jose Sharks, they stuck with it. The result was a 2-1 overtime victory and a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

“I think that’s been our mindset since Christmas,” said veteran winger Patrick Hornqvist. “We’ve been through so much this team. That’s one of the things we’ve always talked about. We can’t get too high, we can’t get too low. We can’t control some things out there. You can control your work ethic and your attitude, and that’s what we do.”

“It’s the playoffs. I mean, it’s going to be tight,” added captain Sidney Crosby. “I think we’ve been through a lot of different situations, throughout the season, throughout the playoffs. We believe in one another. We’ve just got to keep working, keep trying to play our game, and if we do that, we trust we’ll get the result we want.”

A more fragile team might’ve started expecting the worst when Justin Braun scored with less than five minutes remaining. Lose in overtime, after all, and the Sharks would’ve stolen home-ice advantage.

“If we would have lost that game, it would have been — not devastating — but it would have been tough,” admitted forward Carl Hagelin.

Make no mistake, it’s still going to be tough. The Sharks did not play their best here in Pittsburgh, but they’re 7-2 at SAP Center in these playoffs, and that crowd of theirs can be energizing.

“Going to San Jose, they have a hell of a home record,” Hornqvist said. “It’s only going to be tougher out there. We’re playing good right now, but I still think we need to get it up another level to win there.”

Crosby also knows this series is far from over. Actually, he knows from experience.

“Their desperation level is going to be high,” he said. “I’ve been to two finals and been down pretty quickly 0-2.”

And in 2009, the Penguins fought back from that deficit to beat the Red Wings in seven, giving Crosby his first and only Stanley Cup ring.

In other words, the Penguins’ composure isn’t done being tested.

“One of the things I’ve really liked about our team, and this is something that I think we’ve evolved over the last five months or so, but our guys just play,” said head coach Mike Sullivan.

“That’s what we told them on the bench when it went in the net. You know what? San Jose is a good team. They’re going to get some scoring chances. We liked how our team was playing. We felt like we controlled the majority of the play. We just have to keep playing.”

NHLPA to discuss salary cap at this week’s meetings

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City. Joining him from left to right is Ruslan Fedotenko, Henrik Lundqvist, Zdeno Chara and Sidney Crosby.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHLPA is meeting this week in Chicago, and what’s discussed could impact next season’s salary cap.

As you may know, the players’ association has the right under the CBA to propose a different growth factor than the standard five percent. That’s only happened once, ahead of the 2006-07 season, when the union and league agreed on a growth factor of zero percent. But a decade later, with escrow topping the list of players’ concerns, and after league revenues were hurt by a weakened Canadian dollar, there are at least the ingredients for it to happen again.

Following this week’s meetings, which will include a presentation and discussion on the growth factor, player reps will discuss the matter with their teammates, and then an Executive Board vote will be held. An agreement with the NHL then needs to be reached ahead of the June 30 deadline. Free agency opens on July 1.

On Monday, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he expects the salary cap to remain “relatively flat” for next season. It’s currently at $71.4 million. In March, it was projected to rise to $74 million, though that was under the assumption the NHLPA would approve the full growth factor.

The consensus is that the NHLPA will, indeed, vote to accept the full five percent.

This year’s crop of free agents will be happy if that’s the case, though players like Duncan Keith might not be so thrilled.

Taking away Crosby’s ‘time and space,’ fewer turnovers among the objectives for Sharks in Game 2


PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby got behind Justin Braun and beat him down the ice. He picked up the puck in the corner beside the San Jose net and turned on a dime. Braun tried to stay with Crosby but lost his edge and fell. Before Logan Couture could fill in for Braun, Crosby spotted Conor Sheary alone in the slot and fed him a perfect backhand pass. Sheary’s shot beat Martin Jones, and the Penguins led 2-0.

The whole play took about 10 seconds. It went from one end of the ice to the other. It came pretty much out of nowhere.

It was vintage Crosby.

“He’s one of the best players in the league,” said Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. “Strong. Can skate. Can shoot from his backhand or forehand. If you want to lead him one way, on his backhand he can probably be more dangerous. Taking away his time and space is most important.”

Because, as we saw in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, it doesn’t take much time or space for Crosby to make something happen.

“He sees you all over the ice,” said Sheary. “They over-backchecked a bit and I found that soft area. I was looking far side. [Patric Hornqvist] had a defenseman (Vlasic) tied up in front so I don’t think Jones even had a chance to see it.”

As for Pittsburgh’s other superstar, Evgeni Malkin didn’t get on the scoresheet Monday, but his coach is confident that will happen soon enough.

“He’s generating scoring chances,” said Mike Sullivan. “That’s the thing we watch most is his scoring chance involvement, his primary chances himself. He’s been involved in a fair number of chances, both primary and secondary, over the last two series. We feel real comfortable with his game. We know it’s a matter of time before he scores.”

And, of course, everyone knows by now that the Penguins are more than just Crosby and Malkin. Their most prolific line in these playoffs has been centered by Nick Bonino, the guy who scored the winning goal in Game 1.

The Sharks, meanwhile, have vowed to start better in Game 2. They mostly blame themselves for what happened in the first game of the series, as opposed to crediting their opposition.

“No turnovers, try not to give them too many odd-man rushes. We gave up two and they scored on both,” added Vlasic. “We’ll come out with a better start. We will.”

Related: On his third team in three years, Bonino has ‘found a home for sure’ in Pittsburgh

Report: Hurricanes owner being sued by his three sons

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Peter Karmanos, Jr., the owner and chief executive officer of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, talks to the media at a meet and greet prior to her USA Hockey Hall of Fame induction at the Motor City Casino on December 2, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Back in 2013, Jason Karmanos was fired by the Carolina Hurricanes after 15 years as their assistant GM.

It was a pretty noteworthy firing, since the Hurricanes are owned by his dad, Peter.

“The disagreement I had with my father had nothing to do with the direction of the team or the business of the team,” Jason Karmanos said at the time. “This has nothing to do with my job performance.”

Three years later and it seems Karmanos family relations are only getting worse.

From WDIV ClickOnDetroit:

The Karmanos family, businessman Peter Karmanos and his three elder sons, are fighting over more than $100 million.

The case is now in Oakland County Circuit Court. The dispute centers on Karmanos’s will, which stands to give substantial amounts of money to his sons. The problem? Pete Karmanos borrowed millions of dollars from trusts, made up of Compuware stock, promised to his three sons, Peter the third, Nick and Jason.

The trusts are valued at over $100 million, but over the years, Pete Sr. borrowed against the account to fund his beloved Carolina Hurricanes hockey team.

The details of the lawsuit are in the story. Basically, the sons are saying the father defaulted on the loan. Which, naturally, has raised questions about the financial health of the Hurricanes owner.

Jason Karmanos, by the way, is currently VP of hockey operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose general manager is former ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford.

The two teams haven’t had the best relationship either.

Related: Hurricanes president denies team could move to Quebec