Jake Muzzin, a rookie defenseman, said Friday he was only too happy to support a fallen teammate Thursday. He was a little confused about the NHL’s overall message after he was penalized for fighting while wearing a protecitve visor after teammate Colin Fraser was decked on a hard check by the San Jose Sharks’ Andrew Desjardins, however.
As a player who wears a visor, Muzzin is doing what the league would like him to do to protect himself from serious eye injuries. As a player who defended a teammate, he’s violating a rule by fighting while wearing a visor. Muzzin expressed confusion.
It’s simplistic to say rookie defenseman Jake Muzzin cost the Kings a game Thursday night in San Jose. Muzzin certainly put the Kings in jeopardy by retaliating after the Sharks’ Andrew Desjardins leveled Colin Fraser with a hard shoulder check behind the net in the second period. The Sharks scored two power-play goals after Fraser was penalized, riding that momentum to an eventual 4-3 victory.
However, there was no one in the Kings’ dressing room Friday who faulted Muzzin.
The Kings dominated play for most of the second period Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. And all they had to show for it was a 1-1 tie going into the third period. Colin Fraser, back in the lineup after Kings coach Darryl Sutter scratched Simon Gagne, scored his first goal of the season. Edmonton’s Sam Gagner tied it on a power-play goal later in the period. Gagner’s shot appeared to deflect off the stick of the Kings’ Jeff Carter, fooling goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Lost among the quotable “Dry Island” denial soundbites thrown out Wednesday, when Mike Richards met the local media for the first time since his trade from Philadelphia, maybe the most revealing nugget of Richards’ press conference is that he still doesn’t know why he was traded.
At the very least, even if he does know why he was traded, Richards isn’t ready to divulge that reason publicly. In the meantime, speculation will continue.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has his own take: It was a good hockey trade.
“It’s one of those deals that should work out for everybody and satisfy each of our needs,” he said. “We gave up two good players. Philly did just fine.”
That’s my starting point for tomorrow’s story. A couple other points of note from Lombardi:
Ryan Smyth’s trade request was granted and the 35-year-old left wing is an Edmonton Oiler once again.
In return, the Kings receive forward Colin Fraser and a seventh-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. Lombardi said Saturday that he wanted to acquire a player whom he could send to the minors, buy out or trade, so keeping Fraser would not appear to be high on the Kings’ wish list.
In Fraser, the Kings receive an energy-line forward who topped out with seven goals and 19 points in 2009-10, his second NHL season, for the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks. Fraser dipped to three goals and five points in 67 games for the Oilers last season. In 224 career NHL games he has 16 goals, 41 points and 168 penalty minutes.
According to capgeek.com, the Kings can buy out Fraser at a cost of $275,000 over two seasons.
Smyth, whom Lombardi said requested a trade home about two months ago, heads back to the city he called home from 1994-2007. The Alberta native scored 23 goals last season –third on the team — and his (long anticipated) departure gives the Kings their most pressing need to fill when free agency begins July 1.
Smyth is scheduled to have a conference call in Edmonton at 4 p.m. today.
Update: Dean Lombardi said that Fraser has a chance to be with the Kings in training camp and beyond. More from Lombardi in tomorrow’s editions.