L.A. Kings place Mike Richards on waivers. Who will grab him?

Matt Larkin
Mike Richards' cap hit and term make it highly unlikely any team claims him. (Getty Images)

The defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings fed the NHL a harsh dose of reality less than 24 hours after the league displayed its silliest side at the All-Star Game.

The Kings placed center Mike Richards on waivers Monday, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Yes, that Mike Richards, the world junior champion, the 2010 gold medallist, the two-time Stanley Cup winner. Richards had appeared in many recent trade rumors, most commonly involving Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, but the Kings reportedly could not find a taker. It’s not exactly a shocker no team wanted to give up something to acquire Richards, 29, at a $5.75-million cap hit for five more seasons after this one. He is nowhere near the player he was as a Philadelphia Flyer, and it appears he’s even lost a step since last season. Richards has sputtered to 15 points in 47 games, he’s won fewer than half his faceoffs, and it’s fair to wonder if Kings GM Dean Lombardi regrets not using a compliance buyout on Richards this past off-season. The euphoria of a second championship in three years understandably clouded his judgment.

As per the new(ish) collective bargaining agreement, the Kings can’t fully “bury” Richards’ contract for full relief from his cap hit. If he clears waivers, they will only save $925,000. They obviously hope some team claims Richards.

The question is – does any team have the stones to blow that much cap space on Richards? Re-entry waivers no longer exist, meaning the claiming team must take on his full cap hit and term. Richards still has some value to a contending team, as he’s still a plus in the possession game and he’s a winner who elevates his game in the post-season. But that may not matter at his price.

Read more

Here’s your first look at the NHL’s latest groundbreaking technology

Adam Proteau
The NHL's new player tracking system

As the NHL modernizes its approach to advanced statistics, it’s also striving to change with the times as it pertains to the technology surrounding the sport. And at the 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus, league officials provided the first look at one of those new technologies: an in-game tracking system for players that looks to be the next level of the real-time, actively connected sports experience.

The new system, developed by sports broadcasting company Sportvision, tracks players by microchips implanted in their jerseys and with microchips in pucks, registering and displaying information from ice time to shot velocity. For a program in its infancy, the results look impressive: Read more

Are the NHL, Rogers and, most importantly, fans benefitting from new TV deal?

Amber Dowling
Scott Moore (2014 Toronto Star)

Forget nude Kardashians. The Canadian Internet broke 13 months ago when news first leaked that Rogers Media had reached a record-breaking, 12-year deal with the NHL, taking public broadcaster CBC’s biggest money-maker away for a cool $5.2 billion. Few expected the new deal to reach more than double what NBC paid – reportedly $2 billion – back in 2011 for a 10-year run.

All eyes were on Hockey Night in Canada and how its Saturday night institution would be affected. More money meant glossier visuals for fans via sky-cams, Q-ball cameras and head-cams on the refs, which are currently on their third prototype; Don Cherry’s shortened, more concentrated Coach’s Corner; and Ron McLean’s slick-haired replacement in George Stroumboulopoulos. How would ratings and advertisers react? Read more

Poker star says odds of team in Las Vegas nearing 100 percent

Jared Clinton
Render of proposed Las Vegas arena (MGM Resorts International)

Daniel Negreanu is exactly the type of person you’d call a betting man, and the professional poker player thinks the odds are in favor of Las Vegas getting an NHL team.

In an interview with NHLExpertPicks.com, a hockey betting website, the six-time World Series of Poker champion said he’s willing to put the chances of a team in Vegas closer to a 100 percent than many would think. Read more

Derian Hatcher, David Legwand purchase OHL’s Sarnia Sting. What does it mean?

Matt Larkin
Jakob Chychrun is just one useful piece Derian Hatcher and David Legwand can build around in Sarnia. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

It was only a matter of time before the Sarnia Sting sale went down. It’s finally happened, with noteworthy new ownership. Retired NHLer Derian Hatcher, the first American to captain a Stanley Cup winner, and current Ottawa Senators center David Legwand have purchased the team from Rob and Larry Ciccarelli. The agreement has been signed and requires approval from the OHL’s board of governors, which is expected to go over smoothly, according to Terry Bridge of the Sarnia Observer, who first reported the sale.

Sarnia citizens can breathe a sigh of relief. This particular sale does not mirror that of the Plymouth Whalers, which involves moving the team to Flint, Mich. The Sting aren’t going anywhere. It appears any change Hatcher and Legwand (a Plymouth alumnus, oddly enough) plan to effect will be positive and, most importantly, stationary. The Ciccarellis said they only planned to sell the team if the prospective owners were committed to keeping it in Sarnia, and that “Derian and David have made that commitment.”

Read more

Report: Minnesota, Colorado to host NHL outdoor games next season

The crowd at Chicago's Soldier Field for the 2014 Stadium Series game between the Hawks and Pens. (Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will each host outdoor games next season, according to a report Wednesday from TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The games will complement the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, which will take place in Boston’s Gillette Stadium and feature the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. Read more

NHL suffers legal setback in battle against ex-Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes

Adam Proteau
Gary Bettman and Bill Daly  (Kevin Light/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL was ultimately successful in its battle with former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes over the location of the franchise – the former kept it in Arizona, while the latter was prepared to have it sold and relocated to Hamilton, Ont. – but a new legal ruling is a significant setback in the league’s efforts to collect more than $145 million in punitive damages from the trucking magnate.

 

Read more

Report says Vegas expansion fee could be $450 million or more

Jared Clinton
The Las Vegas strip. ( (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

If the prospective owners of a Las Vegas NHL franchise want to put hockey in Nevada, they may have to pony up at least $450 million, according to a report from TSN.

TSN’s Rick Westhead reported that two current NHL owners said the fee could realistically be anywhere between $450 and $500 million, with one owner, who requested anonymity, saying he would venture a guess at $475 million being the actual fee. Read more