Tag Archives: LA Kings

Mike Richards Returns Home to the LA Kings

By Ellen Chlumecky

March 24, 2015

On March 22, the Los Angeles Kings made a decision to recall Mike Richards from their AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs. The Kings recently added the veteran back on to its low-scoring lineup before opening a five game road trip against the New Jersey Devils on Monday night with their playoff dreams looming in the near future. After three losses in their past four games, the Kings sit two points behind Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division.

Richards was waived and immediately sent to the minors in January when the Kings lost their patience with several seasons of his poor performance on the offensive production. Once Richards cleared waivers, he accept the minor league assignment. He gained 14 points in 16 games for Manchester. He is currently in the middle of a 12 year contract through 2020 that carries an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. General manager of the Kings, Dean Lombardi, had said that Richards had been sent to the AHL reluctantly because of his efforts. They made a statement saying that they would recall the veteran for the playoff push if his replacements didn’t excel. His replacements didn’t succeed, so here Richards is now.

Mike Richards is no stranger to being a strong player. In fact, he’s gotten in trouble for it several times. He’s a hard-hitting player who a multitude of players have to frequently look out for on the ice. He tends to dominate physically and is more than often called a bully on the ice. Before he was on the Los Angeles Kings, he was previously the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Flyers and 24th overall. He has been the member of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the Los Angeles Kings. He has also been on numerous championship teams, including: the Memorial Cup, World Juniors, Calder Cup, and Olympic Gold.

The Kings have been having a rough year. A player who has consistently been a goal producer for the team wasn’t performing so they thought it was the best idea to send Richards back down to the AHL. Maybe they thought that sending Richards down to the AHL would light a fire under him. It’s really crunch time for the Kings right now so calling Richards back up might be a good option for them right now. The Kings really need to light a fire underneath their players right now.

Slava Voynov’s Domestic Violence Case Worse Than Expected

By Savannah Malnar

When defenseman Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings was initially arrested on domestic violence charges and suspended indefinitely by the NHL in late October, the media didn’t have a lot of information on the case. Voynov and his wife both claimed it was an “accident,” but the case still went to court.

Fast forward roughly two months to Voynov’s preliminary hearing on Monday. In this hearing, what at first seemed like a possible misunderstanding became much worse. A police officer offered his testimony to the case; apparently, Voynov had pushed his wife to the ground multiple times, kicked her, choked her multiple times, and pushed her into a television which caused a gash above her eye requiring stitches.

Pretty bad, right? The people in the sport media largely agree. Big names such as Yahoo! Sports and the Bleacher Report say it like it is, calling the incident “shocking,” “bloody,” and “horrifying.” An article in the Bleacher Report praised the NHL for its initial suspension, along with its decision to fine the LA Kings $100,000 when they violated suspension protocol and allowed the defenseman to take part in a practice with the team. The NHL’s lack of toleration for both the suspected domestic violence and violation of suspension protocol shows their dedication to ensuring a high standard of how the players act off the ice. This reflects good on the league in comparison to the NFL’s mishandling of the Ray Rice case.

While the large national media outlets highlighted the moral aspect of Voynov’s case and suspension, a more local source, the LA Times, stayed completely objective on that front. In comparison to the headlines “NHL’s Hard Line with Slava Voynov Remains Justified as Horrible Details Emerge” (Bleacher Report) and “Slava Voynov kicked, choked, bloodied wife according to police” (Yahoo! Sports), the LA Times headline was simply “Domestic violence case against Slava Voynov will proceed, judge rules.” This is an extremely stark difference and reflects the habits of local sources tending to be less critical of athletes in these sorts of situations.

With domestic abuse becoming a hot topic in the sports world, both the league itself and the hockey media must be sensitive to the broad audience that the sport invites. Even with the LA Times remaining objective, the media and the NHL have done a good job so far showing this sort of behavior by a player is unacceptable and disappointing.

Blood is Thicker than Water: Until the money comes along

By Kaleb Page

For anyone who plays sports the ultimate dream is to end up playing professionally and being successful doing so. If and when the time comes to go pro, not only will it be a prideful moment for the athlete, but it will also be a great moment in the lives of close family and friends. The saying goes that “blood is thicker than water” and those with whom you are related should have your best interest at heart. This week one NHL player would wish that statement was true.

Jack Johnson of the Columbus Blue Jackets is a 27-year-old defenseman that from early on in his hockey career had a promising future. In high school in Minnesota, Johnson played alongside future NHL superstar Sidney Crosby. Creating a formidable team in high school hockey that eventually won a 2003 state title. Then in just two seasons at the University of Michigan, Johnson played such great hockey, that he was drafted in 2005 with the third overall pick in the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes. Even though he was drafted by the Hurricanes, he played for the Los Angeles Kings (2007-2011) for the majority of his career until being sent to Columbus in 2012. For all his success, from the high draft choice, top defensive scorer, and even a silver medal in the 2010 Olympics; Johnson could not of imagined this day would come.

Prior to the signing of Johnson’s seven-year, $30.5 million contract on Jan. 8, 2011, he gave someone he trusted full control over his money; his mom Tina Johnson. For a lot of professional athletes trusting someone with your money is a hard thing to do and it probably makes them turn to close friends and family for money advise. This is what makes this case of another athlete losing his money so sad. Johnson gave all his trust to his parents (Jack Sr. & Tina Johnson) to handle his money, yet they did him wrong in the worst of ways.

From the time that deal was signed, Johnson’s parents were soaking it in. They began to borrow against their own son’s earnings. The first loan they signed (March 9, 2011) was a $1.56 million loan to buy a home nearby when Johnson was with the LA Kings. This loan had an interest rate at 12 percent that eventually went into default. The next day after that loan was signed the parents went and borrowed another $2 million. The next borrowing statement to me shows the most malice. On April 14, 2011 the parents borrowed $3 million from a firm that “monetizes” contracts. With these large amounts and high interest rates the parents could not pay up, ultimately leading to the parents being sued.

The parents settled out of court with the two loans suing (the $2 million & $3 million), but it was at the expense still of their son. Johnson saw $41,800 taken away from his bimonthly checks over the past two seasons; nearly a fourth of every check. To top it all off the parents spent another $800,000 on renovations to their home, a car and traveling to watch their son play. With a lot of the money being taken out of his check, Johnson started to ask what is going on?

Johnson would ask questions and yet his parents would say “don’t worry, just worry about hockey.” Flash forward to October 7, 2014 and Johnson is in a federal court in Columbus filing for bankruptcy. All of the $18 million he has earned during his nine years in the NHL is basically gone. The real news on where this situation is going broke this Thursday after it has been set that his bankruptcy hearing will be scheduled for Jan. 23 in Los Angeles.

A lot of coverage on ESPN, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and The Columbus Dispatch really shed a light on this story. I would like to credit the journalistic work of Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch, for getting a lot of great details and facts that allowed me to share this story. His coverage along with the major outlets has been great and showed just how troubling this story is. For all the great people do in the world of sport, there are always those out there that give it a black eye.

For the parents of Jack Johnson, they have shown that side of the sports world. The side that is sneaky, conniving and (intentionally or not) crumble people’s lives. I can’t fathom what Johnson’s emotions and thoughts are at this point but I know he wishes one phrase was truer than ever: “Blood is thicker than water.” Unfortunately for him their eye was on the prize of money, not on the best interest of their own son.