After the game last night, Kings forward Mike Richards wasn’t happy with the instigator penalty he was assigned in his fight with Stars’ captain Brenden Morrow.
Prior to the Kings boarding a plane for Calgary, he had a chance to speak about the entire incident at the Kings training facility in El Segundo…
On the overall situation – “I think the most frustrating thing is if the NHL is trying to get us to wear visors, and then we get penalized for fighting with them on. I think it kind of defeats the purpose…You hear all the speculation of having the set fights and fighting in the moment and things like that, but then when you do fight in the moment, you get penalized for it because you had a visor on. I don’t really understand the whole thing about visors, and if they want people to wear them or not. It just seems like every day something new.”
On similar situations in the past – “I can’t remember ever getting an instigator on plays like that. Usually it’s a two minute roughing or something like that, but the refs are there to call what they see. They made the right calls, I mean you can’t argue with that, but I just think it’s a dumb rule in place.”
On Kopitar being hit by Morrow moments prior – “I was obviously scared for Kopi and you never like to see a player like that. Even though it was a shoulder to shoulder hit, it was a dangerous play and it’s good to see that he’s healthy and doing well. Like I said, it was just one of those in the moment things. If you’re going to get penalized for sticking up for your teammates, it’s a tough message to send around the league.”
On the talk about fighting around the league – “I think Brian Burke (Maple Leafs GM), there was an article last week about how the smaller – I don’t know the exact word he said – I think he said ‘rats’, but the smaller guys are starting to take over the league, and maybe that’s true. You make a hit like that, and not that Morrow wouldn’t defend himself because he’s a tough guy, he probably got the better side of me on that, but at the same time we’re down four minutes at a key part of the game. If I don’t get four minutes after that and putting a team down, you’re probably going to think twice about it. It’s a touchy subject, something that I don’t think us as players totally understand what they want. If you’re going to give a guy a four minute penalty for sticking up for your teammates, I think that’s another wrong way we have to go in the NHL.”
On Kopitar’s health today – “He looks good to me, I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. He’s moving around well, so hopefully he’s all right. Like I said, I don’t know exactly, but he looks good to me.”
On Sutter’s return to Calgary tomorrow night – “I don’t think it’s a distraction. You always want to win when you go back to the places, I know when I went back to Philadelphia, I wanted to win, and I’m sure he feels the same way. He’s a very emotional, passionate guy, and I think we feed off his energy, so I’m sure he’ll be fired up for that.”
For what it’s worth, Sutter and Kopitar both said everything is fine. So, as of now, expect #11 in the line-up tomorrow night vs. the Flames.
Final note, big thanks to Jon Rosen for transcribing the above quotes.