Key play: Jeff Carter scored 2:50 into 3-on-3 overtime to give the Kings a 4-3 victory Wednesday over the Washington Capitals at Staples Center. Carter joined the play after the Kings changed forwards on a rush up the ice. The Capitals lost track of him and he scored from the right wing. The Kings squandered a three-goal lead in the third period but returned to first place in the Pacific Division with their win and the Ducks’ loss to the Colorado Avalanche..
Pivotal performer: Winger Tanner Pearson assisted on the Kings’ first two goals, a power-play strike by center Vincent Lecavalier and an even-strength marker by defenseman Jake Muzzin. The Kings went on to take what appeared to be a commanding 3-0 lead by the end of the first period.
Quote, unquote: “We played a good first period, started to slow down a bit,” Carter said. “We can’t let teams back in the game like that. We have to play the full 60 (minutes). These games are huge. We’ll take the two points, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Welcome back: The Kings honored ex-teammates Mike Richards and Justin Williams with separate scoreboard videos during TV timeouts during the first period. Richards and Williams were given standing ovations by Kings fans during their first games back at Staples Center.
Dropping the gloves: Dwight King of the Kings and Mike Weber fought to a draw near the end of the first period, with King earning a takedown to end it. In the second, Kyle Clifford of the Kings fought a spirited battle with Tom Wilson of the Capitals.
UPDATE: A Kings spokesman on Friday confirmed the numbers are accurate.
The Kings will be paying Mike Richards for a very long time after agreeing to settle on his grievance case against the team earlier this month. Richards will be paid through 2031-32, according to figures released via Twitter on Thursday by the website generalfanager.com. Had the Kings simply bought out Richards of the remainder of his contract, they would have paid him only through 2024-25.
The Kings terminated his contract in June, citing a “material breach” in the wake of his arrest on the 17th of that month at a Canadian border crossing. He was charged by Canadian authorities in August with possession of a controlled substance, reportedly the prescription drug Oxycodone. The players union filed a grievance shortly thereafter and a settlement was announced last Friday.
According to the website, the Kings will face settlement and salary-cap recapture fees of $3.120 million this season and $1.570 million for the next four seasons. The figures dip to $700,000 for 2020-21, but never drop below the $400,000 payout in the final season of the settlement, in 2031-32.
Buying out Richards would have cost the Kings a salary-cap hit that would have been as high as $4.216,666 for 2018-19 and 2019-20. It would have been $1,216,666 for this season, the lowest figure for the term of the 10-year buyout.
The Kings reached a settlement agreement with former player Mike Richards on Friday on his grievance against the team in the wake of the club’s termination of his contract during the off-season. “The terms are agreeable to all parties,” the Kings said in a statement without releasing any details.
The NHL Players Association sent out a similar email to reporters.
The Kings severed ties with Richards in June, after he was arrested at a Canadian border crossing with a controlled substance, reportedly Oxycontin. The move enabled the Kings to cut an unproductive player who had five years and $22 million remaining on his contract. The NHLPA filed on a grievance on behalf of Richards, and a hearing was scheduled for this month.
Richards was a member of the Kings’ Stanley Cup teams in 2012 and ’14. He is currently a man without a team, an unsigned free agent. The Kings were expected to buy out Richards after he scored only five goals and 16 points in 53 games last season, both career lows. He also played 16 games in the minors, the first of his career for the 30-year-old former first-round draft pick.
After the domestic violence arrest of Slava Voynov last October and drug busts of Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards during the off-season, the Kings on Monday announced several new training and awareness programs aimed at improving off-ice conduct.
“During the past year, we have been extremely diligent in developing an educational strategy and comprehensive programs in an effort to ensure that the troubling incidents that occurred last season are not repeated,” Dan Beckerman, chief executive of the Kings’ parent company, AEG, said in a statement. “We have conducted research, gathered information and forged partnerships that will better prepare our players and staff for challenges that could impact their behavior away from the workplace.”
The Kings announced a partnership with Peace Over Violence, a Los Angeles-based violence prevention center. In addition, the team said it hired former NHL player Brantt Myhres to a newly-created player assistance position, focusing on the challenges of addiction and substance abuse.
Chris Herren, a former NBA player who founded the Herren Project, will speak to the team about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The team also will undergo sexual harassment training and complete a conduct awareness program.
“These programs are now part of the development process for all of our players,” Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said in a statement. “No longer can we solely focus on their growth and education as just hockey players. We need to give them the tools to thrive as people as well.”
Lombardi is schedule to speak further on the subject when he meets with reporters before Tuesday’s exhibition against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center.