Tag: Mike Richards

Mike Richards

Richards ‘won’t cause a scene’ after demotion; could be healthy scratch Saturday


Earlier today, we wrote about Mike Richards getting just 9:07 of ice time — a season-low — in Thursday’s 4-3 loss against the Rangers, and the trade rumors swirling overhead.

Today, things got worse.

Richards skated in a position next to Jordan Nolan on the “fifth line,” which suggested he could be a healthy scratch tomorrow when the Kings take on the Jets.

More, from the O.C. Register:

Coach Darryl Sutter could always change his mind before Saturday night, but clearly a message is being sent either way. Richards is a 29-year-old former 30-goal scorer whose role is quickly diminishing.

”That’s no fun, that’s no good,’’ Richards said Friday. ”I still, obviously, think I can play a lot more minutes, but at the same time, you play what you’re put in position to play. I’m not going to cause a scene or do anything to take the focus away from anything. I’m just going to come to the rink every day and play hockey.’’

The former Philadelphia Flyer — in year seven of a 12-year, $69 million deal — was thought to be a potential buyout target during last summer’s compliance window, yet retained by Kings GM Dean Lombardi in a move that could come back to haunt the Kings. While L.A. has lauded Richards for his “intangibles” and leadership ability, the fact remains he’s on pace for the lowest offensive output of his career (just 14 points through 41 games) and the organization could find itself in a cap crunch with Justin Williams a UFA this summer and Anze Kopitar the next.

Richards, to his credit, is trying to stay positive.

”You come to the rink every day and, it is what it is, to be honest,” he told the Register. ”You come here, you work, you get ready for a hockey game, just like any other year or any other time. That’s about all you can do.’’

After season-low ice time, rumors swirl around Kings’ Richards

Mike Richards, Kevin Klein

Last night’s Stanley Cup Final rematch was a rough one for Mike Richards.

The veteran Kings center played a season-low 9:07 in the 4-3 loss, including just two shifts in the final frame for a grand total of 81 seconds.

The man in charge of ice time distribution, head coach Darryl Sutter, didn’t name names in his postgame presser, but did allude to issues his team had against the Rangers.

Per LA Kings Insider, they included:

“We had trouble keeping up with a fast team.”

“We had some top players tonight not in the checking mood.”

“We need to get some more out of good players, that’s for sure.”

“We’ve got to continue to be better checkers right through our lineup.”

In regards to which — or, how many — apply to Richards, well, that’s up for debate. Sutter also talked about taking bad penalties and the Rangers scored a PPG following Richards’ interference penalty in the first period, so there’s that to consider as well.

That Richards had this kind of performance in a Cup Final rematch is a tad ironic. He, along with his namesake — ex-Rangers center Brad Richards — were two of the most maligned individuals last spring, thanks in large part to their onerous contracts; while New York opted to use a compliance buyout on the remainder of Brad’s nine-year, $58.5M deal, Kings GM Dean Lombardi opted against doing the same to Mike’s 12-year, $69M pact.

More: Richards: I gave Lombardi ‘my word’ I’d work harder in the offseason

It hasn’t taken long for Richards’ name to surface in trade talks, however.

The first instances came in mid-November, when a pair of TSN reports suggested L.A. was inquiring about moving Richards out of town.

“I don’t think the notion they might be prepared to part with him is necessarily performance-related as much as it is reality-related,” McKenzie said on TSN 1050 radio. “And that is on a team that’s got Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll as your top three centers.

“Do you have room for a guy making that kind of money as arguably a fourth-line center?”

Now, the smoke appear to be surfacing again. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on Fan 590 Radio Friday morning, and said the following (per Nicholson Hockey):

“Justin Williams scored another couple of goals last night. He had a really strong game. He was one of the best L.A. players in the loss. They are trying to sign him to an extension. He’s a free agent at the end of this year.

“They’re a year and a half from having to deal with Kopitar, who, by every stretch of the imagination, deserves the same contract that Toews and Kane got, and who knows what he actually wants. But they know it’s going to be a big number. So they are trying to do some things to kind of clear the decks a bit.

“I’m sure they’re calling and asking teams like Toronto and Winnipeg, where they think that maybe Richards would be willing to go, to test it.”

The trade deadline is on March 2. Stay tuned.

Related: Sutter calls out Mike Richards on game-losing goal

Kings score twice in 53 seconds to top Canucks

Los Angeles Kings v Arizona Coyotes

Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll scored less than a minute apart Thursday night as the L.A. Kings edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.

With the win, the Kings (19-12-8) leapfrog the Canucks (21-11-3) into second place in the Pacific Division. L.A. also avoided a sixth straight road loss with the victory.

With Canucks’ defenseman Ryan Stanton in the box serving a hooking minor, Williams beat Ryan Miller over the shoulder for his ninth of the season at 17:53 of the third tying it 2-2.

Then at 18:46, Stoll netted the game-winner with his fourth of the season.

Despite being out-shot 30-10 through two periods, the Canucks held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Alex Burrows opened the scoring 12:18 of the first with his ninth of the season.

Vancouver then took a 2-0 lead scoring on their first shot of the second period.

Radim Vrbata scored his team-leading 15th at 3:39 of the second. The Canucks had just two shots on goal in the middle frame.

Dwight King had the other Kings goal.

Jonathan Quick made 14 saves for the win. Miller stopped 37 shots in the loss.

PHT’s top 14 of ’14: Kings stage historic comeback vs. San Jose

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven

It’s likely that a good chunk of the teams who have been down 0-3 in playoff series have put on brave faces.

Still, hindsight has a way of making seemingly throwaway comments seem like much more. At the time, many probably rolled their eyes when Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said his team would not “go away quietly” against the San Jose Sharks after falling behind 0-3. With the Kings’ stunning “reverse sweep” and subsequent championship run in mind, Sutter looks more like a soothsayer.

That’s not to say that the Kings were going into Game 4 with a ton of swagger.

Captain Dustin Brown described that hole as “the most dire situation” the Kings had been in.

Let’s look back at the four games the Kings ended up winning and some of the fallout:

Game 4

Tyler Toffoli, Marian Gaborik and Justin Williams helped Los Angeles win 6-3.

Even early on, it seemed like the Kings were planting seeds that they might be able to overcome the deficit, as 3-0 leads were deemed a little less foreboding than they once were.

Game 5

The Kings “went into the cage” and forced Antti Niemi out of the Sharks’ net for a second consecutive game. Bitter San Jose fans will note that this was the game in which key defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was injured. Los Angeles ended up winning 3-0.

Dan Boyle wondered if the Sharks were taking their series lead for granted.

Game 6

Los Angeles became the ninth team to force a Game 7 after being down 3-0, an accomplishment in its own right. The Kings once again won decisively, taking this one 4-1. There was some nastiness in this one:

There were plenty of negative reactions to the Sharks’ sudden slump.

Game 7

Once again, the Kings survived. Once again, the final score wasn’t particularly close, as Los Angeles beat San Jose 5-1 to become the fourth team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 deficit and win a playoff series. Incredibly, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were on the Philadelphia Flyers team that accomplished such a feat against the Boston Bruins during the 2010 playoffs.


Williams remarked that the Kings should not “do that again,” yet it seemed like they used that big-game experience to become serious survivors in elimination situations.

Los Angeles ended up moving on and winning their second Stanley Cup, although not without remarking that they saw fear in the Sharks’ eyes during their comeback. To some extent, the Sharks are still dealing with the reverberations of that loss as the organization waffled on the subject of rebuilding, awkwardly stripped Joe Thornton of the captaincy and generally seemed to send mixed messages about how it would deal with that crushing defeat.

While the Kings’ 0-3 story ended with the Stanley Cup hoisted in the air, it appears that there are still a few chapters remaining in San Jose’s version of the story.

Report: Contract talks underway between Kings, Williams


From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

Williams, 33, is in the last of a four-year, $14.6 million deal that carries a $3.65M annual cap hit. For that money, Williams has been a very productive player for the Kings — two 20-goal seasons, one Conn Smythe and the “Mr. Game 7” moniker — but he’s not getting any younger, and the Kings don’t have a ton of cap space moving forward.

The team’s financial issues this season have been well-documented, especially after playing shorthanded on a couple of occasions following the Slava Voynov suspension. What’s more, GM Dean Lombardi has gone heavy on the lengthy, big-money contracts — Voynov, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick are all signed through 2019 — and still has some key RFA negotiations on the horizon this summer in Kyle Clifford, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.

Per CapGeek, the Kings have only 14 players under contract at approximately $60 million for next season. If the ceiling is to rise to the projected $73M, that’d give L.A. around $13 million to fill out its active roster.

What that means for Williams remains to be seen.