Update: Milan Lucic suspended one game for punch on ‘unsuspecting’ Connauton

Jared Clinton
Milan Lucic punches Kevin Connauton (via Sportsnet/YouTube)

Los Angeles’ Milan Lucic rarely, if ever, backs down from a confrontation, and his willingness to engage with opponents saw him booted from Saturday’s game against Arizona after he delivered a punch to Coyotes blueliner Kevin Connauton.

Midway through the third period of Saturday’s game, Lucic was slashed by Connauton on the left hand, and it had the Kings winger seeing red. Lucic immediately went after Connauton and threw a right hand that sent the defenseman falling to the ice: Read more

Kings mortgage future to have Anze Kopitar in the present

Ken Campbell
Anze Kopitar (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the first things that went through my mind when word surfaced that Anze Kopitar was going to sign an eight-year deal worth $80 million was, are the Los Angeles Kings paying him for what he has already done for them? It’s hard to believe the Kopitar they have for $10 million a year on this deal is going to be as good as the one they had for $3.2 million less on his current contract.

Analytics tells us that Kopitar will decline, probably badly, toward the end of this deal. He likely has had his best years already, although with four goals and 18 points in his past 11 games, Kopitar will have one of the best offensive seasons of his career if he keeps scoring the rest of the season. And his defensive game has never faltered.

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Suspend him or not: Roman Polak ejected for hitting Tyler Toffoli from behind

Ken Campbell
Tyler Toffoli helped off the ice after Roman Polak hit  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

One night after receiving just a minor penalty for drilling an unsuspecting opponent headfirst into the boards, Roman Polak of the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t lucky when he did the same thing Wednesday night.

Polak took a major penalty and game misconduct, and possible supplemental discipline, when he hit Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings in the first period of Wednesday night’s game. The funny thing is, the hit that earned him a minor penalty the night before for a hit on Mike Santorelli of the Anaheim Ducks looked worse than the one that got him kicked out against the Kings.

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Kings betting on Lecavalier’s honesty and character and it’s a smart move

Vincent Lecavalier (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

If the Los Angeles Kings are betting on Vincent Lecavalier’s sense of integrity and his word, and they are, then they’re betting on the right guy. Lecavalier’s all-world talents have declined to be sure, but one thing that has not is his reputation of being a man of his word and an all-round stand-up person.

So when Lecavalier assured the Los Angeles Kings that he would retire after this season, thereby making it possible for the Kings to acquire him and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday, that was obviously good enough for the Kings. Because the fact is, Lecavalier could throw this entire thing off the rails by waking up tomorrow morning or any other between now and the end of this season and decide he actually wants to keep playing beyond this season and there’s not a thing the Kings or Flyers could do about it.

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Capitals sign Mike Richards, who is cleared to play right away

Ian Denomme
Mike Richards. (Getty Images)

Six months after being bought out by the Los Angeles Kings, former all-star Mike Richards is returning to the NHL.

Richards signed a one-year, pro-rated contract worth $1-million with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old, two-time Stanley Cup champion had a difficult 2015. He was placed on waivers in January and sent to the AHL, and finished the year with a career-low 16 points. In June he was stopped at a Canadian border crossing and eventually charged with possession of a controlled substance. The Kings bought out the remaining five years and $22-million of his contract.

Richards is still awaiting trial, but he met with commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday and was cleared to begin playing.

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Kings acquire Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn from Flyers for Jordan Weal, third-round pick

Jared Clinton
Vincent Lecavalier (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Vincent Lecavalier is going to get one last shot at chasing a Stanley Cup. The Los Angeles Kings announced Wednesday they have acquired Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for center Jordan Weal and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

Lecavalier, 35, had a trying tenure as a Philadelphia Flyer. Following a buyout by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013, Lecavalier signed a five-year, $22.5-million deal with Philadelphia, but hasn’t been able to find a fit on the roster. In his first season with the club, Lecavalier had a decent season and was able to rack up 20 goals and 37 points in 69 games, but he slipped to eight goals and 20 points in 2014-15 while being forced to sit out more than a handful of games as a healthy scratch.

Things haven’t been much better for Lecavalier this season. He was scratched for the first eight games of the season and has been a healthy scratch 20 times this season. Lecavalier has also been out the past 11 games with a back injury. All told, the one-time 50-goal man has played just seven games this season and has one assist. Read more

AHLer Kurtis MacDermid gets 12-game suspension after vicious check to the head

Jared Clinton
Kurtis MacDermid (Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Kings prospect Kurtis MacDermid is no stranger to suspensions, and he’ll be serving a 12-gamer for a vicious hit he threw on San Diego Gulls winger Matt Bailey.

The hit occurred during a Dec. 26 game between the Kings’ AHL affiliate Ontario Reign and Ducks’ AHL affiliate Gulls. Bailey had received a pass as San Diego was exiting the zone and had chipped it around an attacking Reign player when MacDermid came out of nowhere and obliterated Bailey with a dangerous hit that left him down on the ice: Read more