Tag: Mike Richards

Joe Pavelski, Jonathan Quick

Whatever the Kings decide with Richards, they’re ‘going to have to play better’


Darryl Sutter still thinks Mike Richards can be a good NHL player, and he’s frustrated by the media coverage of the Kings’ decision to place the 29-year-old center on waivers.

“This is hockey, and some of you guys don’t get it, period,” the coach told reporters today, per LA Kings Insider. “Lots of players go on waivers and lots of players clear waivers, and lots of players still have great years in front of them.

“It’s just that there are people in the media who continue to want to beat people up because they can’t do it themselves. It’s frustrating. I think Mike’s still got lots of hockey left.”

Whatever the team decides to do with Richards, both in the short- and long-term, the Kings, to most everyone’s surprise, find themselves outside the playoff picture heading into Wednesday’s home game versus Chicago, after which they’ll head out on a tough, five-game road trip with stops in Boston, Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Columbus.

All-Star forward Anze Kopitar was asked this weekend to pinpoint why the defending champions had such a modest record (20-15-12) after 47 games.

“I don’t think you can pinpoint,” he said. “We’ve played a lot of hockey the last few years. Maybe there was a little bit of a fatigue factor. But we’re all professionals. We’ve got to get ready for each and every game.”

The statistic that really stands out about this season’s Kings is their goals-against average. At 2.53, it’s only the 13th-lowest in the NHL. Last season, it finished at 2.05, better than everyone.

Blame the goaltenders. Blame the players in front of the goalies for not being in a “checking mood” often enough. Blame the absence of Slava Voynov, or the departure of Willie Mitchell. Blame the shootout. Blame fatigue. The fact is, no defending champion since the 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes has missed the playoffs, and the Kings would like to keep it that way.

“I think we’re one point out of a playoff spot,” said Kopitar. “That’s encouraging. And we realize we’re going to have to play better the second half of the year. We have a pretty long road trip coming up, and this is a good time to get going and turn things around.”

Related: Mike Richards clears waivers

Mike Richards clears waivers

Mike Richards

Los Angeles center Mike Richards cleared waivers on Tuesday.

Richards, 29, passed through the wire unclaimed after yesterday’s big news that L.A. waived him in the midst of what’s been a disappointing campaign. A former 80-point scorer and Selke runner-up, Richards played a key role in each of the Kings’ two Stanley Cup championships but had both his role and playing time decrease this year, scoring just five goals in 47 games while averaging less than 14 minutes a night.

Richards was always going to be a tough pickup for any team thanks to his massive 12-year, $69 million deal — one that carries a $5.75M annual cap hit through 2019. There were reportedly trades being negotiated through the weekend in an effort to move Richards but, when Kings GM Dean Lombardi became dissatisfied with the deals, Richards was waived.

“The way I look at this, Mike’s, in his career, he’s shown he can be a .330 hitter and get you 80 RBIs as an All-Star player,” Lombardi explained, per LA Kings Insider. “So, maybe at this stage, maybe it’s not there. But I still assume he’s capable of being a .280 hitter and doing a lot of those things for you that only he can do.

“Let’s face it – right now he’s batting .200.”

What happens now will prove interesting. Richards will likely be sent to AHL Manchester and the cap-strapped Kings will receive $925,000 of relief in the process. That said, Richards’ deal remains an albatross; even with that relief, the contract still represents $4.8 million of dead space.

PHT Morning Skate: It’s not all bad for Mike Richards


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Gauging how recent estimations may impact the always-relevant salary cap concerns for the Chicago Blackhawks. (CSNChicago.com)

The value of versatility in players like Dustin Byfuglien. (Boston Globe)

Is a slap shot the best way to deal with a loose tooth? *Grabs mouth* (Puck Daddy)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The late, great Jean Believeau scored his first NHL goal on this day back in 1951. A great find from the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs:

Hey, the 2015 All-Star break wasn’t all bad for Mike Richards, as he seemingly got engaged: