Sutter calls out Mike Richards on game-losing goal


The Los Angeles Kings suffered a 1-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night on the strength of a Tyler Ennis power-play goal. After the contest, Kings coach Darryl Sutter made it clear that he needed more from Mike Richards on that play.

“It’s a bad play by Mike Richards,” Sutter said, per LA Kings Insider. “You can’t drop off. It’s a set play for us. You can’t drop off in the corner unless we have full control. You’ve got to cover the middle of the ice.”

You can see the goal in question below:

There was rampant speculation after the Los Angeles Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup championship that Richards would be subject to an amnesty buyout in light of his diminishing role with the team. However, GM Dean Lombardi shot down that notion.

It was understandable for Lombardi to want to keep this team together as much as possible given the success the Kings have enjoyed in recent years. At the same time, Richards has 10 points in 28 contests and is averaging just 14:35 minutes per game. True, the Kings are deep up the middle, but that’s still not much playing time for a forward that comes with a $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2019-20.

Kings’ Richards is all about ‘the end result, the win part’


Mike Richards has had his name connected to trade rumors. He’s had his name connected to buyout speculation. And yet, through it all, he’s remained with the L.A. Kings and is a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

Though, you look at his bottom-line individual numbers – goals, assists, points in games played – and they certainly aren’t becoming of someone with a $5.75 million cap hit, according to Given the money and the term of his contract, you can see how this speculation gets started.

Richards, now 29 years of age, has scored only four times in 26 games for the Kings this season. He has only 10 points, yet he’s still got five more years after the 2014-15 season remaining on his current, 12-year contract, which he signed while still a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

But while the offensive output has slowed considerably over the years, from his peak of 80 points in 79 games with the Flyers in 2008-09, Richards still seems to be seen as a favorable asset for Kings head coach Darryl Sutter.

“I totally trust Mike. He doesn’t have to earn it,” said Sutter, as per the L.A. Times. “Again, it’s not about Mike, it’s about the position, and I think he totally understands that. He’s about the end result, the win part. That’s what he’s about.”

Locking in the core: Kings sign Martinez to six-year, $24 million extension


Los Angeles secured another key contributor long-term on Wednesday, inking defenseman Alec Martinez to a six-year, $24 million deal.

The deal, first reported by Sportsnet, kicks in next season and represents a tidy raise on the $1.1 million Martinez is making annually on his current contract. At $4M per, he’ll sit even with Jake Muzzin as the third highest-paid blueliner on the team (trailing Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov.)

Martinez shot to fame last season by scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 5, but had shown his value and talent well prior to notching that famous tally. The 27-year-old scored a career-high 11 goals and 22 points in just 61 games last year — leading all Kings blueliners in goals — and played 19:40 a night.

In the playoffs, Martinez again proved to be a valuable offensive commodity on the back-end, scoring five goals and 10 points in 24 games.

As mentioned at the top, the deal is another long-term pact from Dean Lombardi. The Kings now have Martinez, Muzzin, Doughty, Voynov, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick all signed through 2019.  The Muzzin deal was signed in mid-October, while the Gaborik deal was completed in late June.

WATCH LIVE: L.A. Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks


The Kings and Ducks meet at the Honda Center for the first time since Game 7 of last spring’s Western Conference semifinals, which L.A. won in seven games. Anaheim will once again be without both Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin, who suffering from an illness. Meanwhile after dressing just five defenseman on Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks, the Kings will have six defensemen tonight as Jamie McBain makes his L.A. debut. Who will win the first instalment in the battle of Southern California? Tune in at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can also watch the game on NBCSN or via NBC Sports’ Live Extra stream.


Here are some related stories for you to read while you wait for the game to start:

Sutter: Illness excuse a ‘popular thing around the league,’ but Kings won’t use it

Get your game notes: Kings at Ducks

Welcome Mike Richards to the trade rumor mill

NHL on NBCSN: Ducks have a score to settle with Kings

Welcome Mike Richards to the trade rumor mill


On Tuesday, Los Angeles center Mike Richards popped up on the ol’ trade radar.

The blip came courtesy a pair of radio segments from TSN’s Darren Dreger (see here) and Bob McKenzie (see here), in which both explained that Los Angeles’ ongoing cap crunch, depth down the middle and market value for quality centers all leads to one conclusion — Richards is a logical choice to be moved.

“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?”

Richards is halfway through a monster 12-year, $69 million deal that carries a $5.75M annual cap hit. This summer, he was the subject of buyout speculation following a fourth-line demotion in Stanley Cup Final — a series in which he went up against another pricey, demoted center named Richards (Brad), who was eventually bought out by the Rangers.

Buyout talk was so feverish that Kings GM Dean Lombardi came out and said he wouldn’t amnesty Richards’ deal. Lombardi did so with the understanding that Richards would “make some adjustments in his offseason training,” alluding to the fact the 29-year-old wasn’t in tip-top shape a year ago.

“Essentially, I have to trust him,” Lombardi said prior to the June 30 buyout window closing. “Once that deadline goes, we’re locked in.”

As mentioned above, Richards hasn’t been bad this season. He’s scored seven points in 15 games but is playing even less than he did a year ago — 15:17 TOI per game, his lowest average since his rookie campaign in 2005-06. (And yes, part of that is due to the guys in front of him.)

At the end of the day, though, a move might be more about the money than it is about Richards. The Kings missed out on their first chance at financial relief when they balked on buying him out; now that they’re mired in salary cap hell, they might not pass on a second opportunity.