• Kings GM Dean Lombardi calls Mike Richards situation ‘a tragedy’

    Jared Clinton
    Mike Richards (Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards officially reached a settlement regarding the termination of Richards’ contract. Late Friday evening, Kings GM Dean Lombardi released a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying he tried everything to help the now-former Kings center and that what happened to Richards was “a tragedy.”

    In the statement, Lombardi compares the situation with Richards to finding out ones spouse was committing infidelity. The Kings GM said he’s unsure if he will ever be able to recuperate from what happened between the club and Richards.

    “Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi wrote to The Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now — and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment…Anyone close enough to me knows how much I loved Mike Richards. I believed that when I had acquired him, I had found my own Derek Jeter.” Read more

  • Coyotes’ Max Domi notches first career goal with a rocket of a wrist shot

    Jared Clinton
    Max Domi (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    When it came to putting points on the board, Tie Domi’s bread and butter was getting to the front of the net and locating loose pucks. As for his son, Max, teams are going to have to watch out no matter where the youngster is.

    Domi didn’t waste much time getting on the score sheet in Game One of his NHL career. Late in the first period, Domi was deep in the Los Angeles Kings’ zone when he received a pass from Martin Hanzal. Domi expertly picked the pass up using his skates, kicked it to his stick and slipped a gorgeous feed to Oliver Ekman-Larsson who made no mistake.

    With Domi’s first career assist under his belt after the first period, he entered the second frame looking to get the ever-important first career goal. And after Coyotes winger Steve Downie flattened Kings center Jordan Weal, Domi was the beneficiary, picking up a loose puck and letting go a beautiful wrist shot to score his first NHL goal in his first NHL game: Read more

  • Watch Rangers score three goals in 77 seconds to shock Blue Jackets

    Jared Clinton
    Mats Zuccarello (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    With less than three minutes remaining in Friday’s tilt between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, it appeared Columbus was set to send the Blueshirts home with their first loss of the season. Instead, it took all of 77 seconds for the Rangers to bury three tallies and pick up their second victory of the season.

    The Rangers’ nearly unthinkable comeback began with a broken play at the Columbus blueline. With the puck on his stick just inside his own zone, Blue Jackets defenseman Kevin Connauton went to send a pass up ice, which happened to catch Rangers center J.T. Miller in the leg. Miller and Connauton converged on the puck, the New York pivot poked it past the Columbus defenseman and Rangers rookie Oscar Lindberg scooped up the loose puck before snapping a shot that found its way past Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

    It was an unfortunate break for Columbus, but their situation got worse 17 seconds later: Read more

  • Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin scores first NHL goal with perfect wrist shot

    Jared Clinton
    Dylan Larkin (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    It’s only his first game, but Dylan Larkin has already made himself a fan favorite in Detroit.

    In the Red Wings’ season- and home-opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Larkin got himself on the score sheet less than 10 minutes into the first frame with the primary assist on Justin Abdelkader’s second goal of the game. But in the second period, Larkin didn’t waste any time getting himself his first career goal.

    Shortly after the puck had dropped for the second, Larkin was streaking down the left wing and snapped an absolutely perfectly placed wrist shot over the shoulder of Maple Leafs netminder Jonathan Bernier: Read more

  • How documentary ‘Soul On Ice’ redefines what it means to be black in hockey

    Matt Larkin
    Director Damon Kwame Mason and goaltender Malcolm Subban. (courtesy of Soul On Ice)

    A basement full of hockey players snacking on pizza doesn’t typically make for an intense environment. But this humid August evening is an exception.

    Strewn across the considerable couch space at the beautiful home of Mike Wilson, famous Toronto memorabilia collector: Joel Ward, Devante Smith-Pelly and Anthony Stewart. They represent a small chunk of the NHL’s growing black population. Also on hand: retired trailblazer Mike Marson, one of the game’s first black players. Some other NHLers, such as Mike Hoffman and Michael Latta, have tagged along, too.

    And there’s tension in the air. We all wait as intrepid documentarian Damon Kwame Mason tinkers with the audio of a giant home theatre setup. He’s about to unveil a rough cut of his labor of love, Soul On Ice: Past Present & Future, and he wants everything to be absolutely perfect. The sound system isn’t quite on point for the first few seconds of his film, and that just won’t cut it. He starts it from the top several times until he knows it’s just right.

    And from the minute the opening credits of Soul On Ice arrive, bathed in edgy hip-hop, everyone in the room understands how important this screening is. Mason has spent the last several years pouring his energy into documenting the history of black players in hockey, what hardships the pioneers overcame to break into the sport and why our perception of black players in the game is changing. He’s on a mission to show that black hockey roots run deeper and longer than so many of us realize, and he wants to shatter stereotypes of what it means to be a black hockey player today.

    The seeds of Mason’s project were planted in his childhood, playing road hockey on the streets of Toronto in the late 1970s. Every kid pretended to be his favorite player, and Mason loved Guy Lafleur. “No, you can’t be Lafleur,” he remembers one kid telling him, because Lafleur was white.

    “I wasn’t upset about it, because it’s a fact that he’s not black, you know?” Mason said. “So I had to deal with that. You grow up thinking that: ‘We don’t play hockey. This is one of the games we don’t play.’

    Read more

  • Former NHLer Aaron Ward arrested, charged with ‘assault against a woman’

    Jared Clinton
    Aaron Ward (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Former NHL blueliner and TSN analyst Aaron Ward was arrested Friday at his home in Cary, N.C., and has been charged with two misdemeanors.

    Ward, 42, was charged with “assault on a female” and interfering with emergency communications, according to WNCN. Ward allegedly pushed his wife during what TSN called a “domestic disagreement” and took her phone, resulting in the interfering with emergency communications, according to The News & Observer’s Luke DeCock.

    DeCock also reported that Ward’s wife, Kelly, was also arrested and charged with an assault misdemeanor, a charge which was rescinded by Cary Police, and that Ward will have to spend the next 48 hours in jail, as per North Carolina state law. Read more

  • ECHL’s new advertising idea will see teams use blue, GEICO-branded nets

    Jared Clinton
    ECHL's blue GEICO nets. (via ECHL/Twitter)

    Minor league hockey is a haven for outlandish ideas and a testing ground for some interesting ideas, and this season the ECHL is going to be trotting out blue nets.

    As part of a multi-year partnership with auto insurance company GEICO, the league will switch from the traditional red posts to the blue posts, adorned with the GEICO word mark twice on each pipe. It won’t be just one or two teams using the nets, either. All 28 U.S. based teams will have blue nets. Read more

  • Simon Despres signs five-year extension with Anaheim Ducks

    Ryan Kennedy
    Simon Despres (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

    When Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford traded Simon Despres to Anaheim for Ben Lovejoy, he had his reasons. But his gambit quickly failed as the young defenseman thrived with the Ducks and Rutherford even admitted shortly thereafter that he wouldn’t have made the trade with the benefit of hindsight.

    Now, the Ducks have signed Despres to a five-year contract extension with an average value of $3.7 million per season. Anaheim, pardon the pun, is lining all its Ducks up in a row.

    Read more