Mike Halford

Darryl Sutter
AP

Sutter has ‘no desire to go anywhere’ other than L.A. (Updated)

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Last week, Kings GM Dean Lombardi said he had no concern about Darryl Sutter leaving Los Angeles.

This week, Sutter basically said the same.

“I’m under contract until July 1,” the Kings head coach said, per the Los Angeles Times. “I have no desire to go anywhere else or do any of that. We’ll get it worked out. That’s my plan.”

While this news doesn’t come as a huge surprise, it has to be something of a relief for the organization. Nobody wanted to see the 57-year-old bench boss depart — he’s been in L.A. for the last five seasons and enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, winning two Stanley Cups.

But Lombardi was blunt in his assessment of the Kings last week. After missing the playoffs two years ago and getting bounced in five games this year, he said there were going to be some tough times ahead for everyone, Sutter included, as the club tried to figure things out.

“To get this back on track,” Lombardi said, “there’s going to be some minor punches in the gut as we fight our way through.”

He also admitted the Kings are in “uncharted waters,” and “not where we want to be.”

Reading into both Lombardi’s and Sutter’s comments, it appears next year could be one of transition. The Kings sound like they’re looking to their prospect base in AHL Ontario, hoping to bring more young players into the fold.

There are two main reasons for this. One, that group has been very successful recently, and captured last year’s Calder Cup. 2) Los Angeles doesn’t have a ton of cap flexibility heading into the offseason, and could probably use some younger players contributing on entry-level deals, or reasonably affordable contracts.

Sutter told the Times he was currently monitoring Ontario’s second-round playoff series against San Diego.

As for Lombardi — the guy in charge of the financials — he’s got a busy summer ahead. The club wants to retain power forward Milan Lucic, and is working towards a contract extension… but Lombardi said he doesn’t see a deal getting done anytime soon.

Decisions also need to be reached on UFAs like Kris Versteeg, Trevor Lewis and Luke Schenn.

RFAs Nic Dowd and Brayden McNabb also need new deals, but the really important RFA decisions come next year, when Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson see their contracts expire.

UPDATE: Per the L.A. Times, it appears Sutter’s deal is done and will be announced Friday.

McLellan’s deal in Edmonton was a five-year, $15 million contract with a $3M annual salary, to give you an idea of what Sutter’s salary might look like.

Condon, Larkin shine as U.S. topples France at Worlds

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) The United States moved a step closer to qualifying for the quarterfinals of the hockey world championship by beating France 4-0 Thursday.

The Americans, who were coming off a loss to Finland, have a 2-2 record and could end up in third place in Group B if Canada beats Germany later Thursday. The top four teams advance to the next round.

UPDATE: Canada defeated Germany 5-2, with Taylor Hall scoring a pair for the Canadians.

Chris Wideman, Connor Murphy and J.T. Compher scored three goals in quick succession late in the second period. Brady Skjei scored the fourth early in the third. Detroit rookie Dylan Larkin registered a pair of assists.

Goaltender Mike Condon made 19 saves for the shutout while the United States killed six power plays.

“Our special teams were a factor tonight and it’s important that we continue to have good habits in our game,” United States coach John Hynes said.

The Americans next play Hungary on Friday.

In Moscow, the Czech Republic routed Norway 7-0 to go three points clear at the top of Group A.

Lukas Kaspar scored two goals, while Dominik Furch made 26 saves for his second shutout of the tournament.

 

Ducks get Sens’ permission to interview Richardson

Luke Richardson 3
Getty Images

Another candidate has emerged in Anaheim’s search for Bruce Boudreau’s replacement:

Luke Richardson.

Richardson, the longtime NHLer that’s spent the last four years as the coach of Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton, will reportedly interview for the gig after the Ducks received permission from the Sens, per the Columbus Dispatch:

Richardson, 47, parted ways with the Sens last month, ending a decade-long relationship with the franchise.

He spent the final two years (2007-09) of his playing career there, then quickly transitioned to coaching, serving as an assistant for three years under both Cory Clouston and Paul MacLean.

In 2012, Richardson moved to AHL Binghamton, embarking on a four-year stretch in which he was widely praised for helping players transition to the big league level: Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, most notably.

When he was ruled out of the running for Ottawa’s head coaching gig — one that eventually went to Guy Boucher — Richardson decided to try and land an NHL job elsewhere.

This ambition should hardly come as a surprise. At one point, he was believed to be the frontrunner for the Buffalo job that eventually went to Dan Bylsma.

Richardson will be facing some stiff competition for the Ducks job. Travis Green, the coach of Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica, is believed to be in the running and reports from earlier this week claimed GM Bob Murray also received permission from the Wild to speak with Mike Yeo.

Your Nashville-San Jose Game 7 officials are…

After consulting with the video judge, referee Dave Jackson waves off an apparent goal by Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, of Sweden, against the Phoenix Coyotes during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.  The Coyotes defeated the Canucks 1-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The NHL has announced its referees and linesmen for tonight’s big Game 7 in San Jose between the Sharks and Preds.

Three referees are on the sheet: Dan O’Rourke, Brad Watson and Chris Lee.

Scouting The Refs, a terrific resource for all things officiating, is leaning towards an O’Rourke-Watson combo, but does note that Lee was O’Rourke’s partner through the first two playoff rounds.

The NHL has listed three linesmen as well for tonight’s game: Jay Sharrers, Michel Cormier and Steve Miller.

Quick rundown on what the the aforementioned zebras have experienced this postseason:

O’Rourke: Part of the officiating crew (along with Lee) that failed to penalize Caps forward Tom Wilson for his knee-on-knee hit on Connor Sheary during the Pens series. Wilson was later fined $2,400 for the incident.

O’Rourke was also part of the crew that correctly judged T.J. Oshie’s OT winner in Game 1 of that series.

Lee: See above re: Wilson hit. Lee also worked Game 1 of the Pens-Caps series with O’Rourke.

Watson: Called that crazy Game 3 of the Isles-Bolts series, the one that featured the Thomas Hickey-on-Jonathan Drouin hit and the Brian Boyle-on-Hickey hit. Neither were called penalties on the ice, and neither was subjected to supplemental discipline.

Of course, that didn’t stop Isles head coach Jack Capuano from singling out Watson after the game.

A reminder that Preds-Sharks goes tonight at 9 p.m. ET, on NBCSN.

Schneider (core muscle), Elias (knee) undergo successful surgeries: Devils

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 11:  Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates the win with teammate Cory Schneider #35 after the game against the Minnesota Wild on November 11, 2014 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.The New Jersey Devils defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Today’s release, from New Jersey’s PR staff:

“On Wednesday, Patrik Elias underwent successful surgery on his right knee. The procedure was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City by Dr. Riley Williams. We will continue to monitor Patrik’s rehabilitation and progress.

“On Tuesday, Cory Schneider underwent successful surgery to repair a core muscle injury. The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers of the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia. His expected recovery time is approximately six weeks.”

Schneider’s procedure seems pretty straightforward, and his recovery time is unlikely to interfere with his participation in training camp.

Which makes Elias’ surgery the more intriguing of the two.

The Czech winger turned 40 in April and, with no contract for next season, there’s major uncertainty regarding his playing future. There was some speculation Elias would retire after returning from a lengthy absence in April, and scoring three points in a season-ending victory over Toronto.

It certainly would’ve been a nice sendoff.

But it’s possible this latest knee procedure is designed to allow Elias to return, and potentially re-sign with the only NHL club he’s ever known. He’s spent his entire 20-year career in New Jersey and is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals, assists and points.

Only Ken Daneyko and Martin Brodeur have played more games in a Devils uniform than Elias, but that could change should Elias return next season. He would need to appear in 44 games to pass Daneyko for first all-time.

Related: Elias (knee) feels ‘as good as I’m going to feel,’ wants to play again this season