EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Mike Richards' locker was cleaned out and already taken by right wing Jordan Nolan at the Los Angeles Kings' practice facility Monday. The space was literally about five feet from where Richards sat for his introductory press conference four years ago when he was traded to the Kings.
The quick removal might seem cold, but it was the only option left for Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who put Richards on waivers. Lombardi could no longer justify paying the underperforming Richards, especially with the pending unrestricted free agency of right wing Justin Williams, center Jarret Stoll and defenseman Robyn Regehr.
"That's the thing we've got to work through," Lombardi said. "Mike, in his career, he's shown he can be a .330 hitter and get you 80 RBIs and be an All-Star player. So maybe at this stage, maybe it's not there. But I still think he's capable of being a .280 hitter and do a lot of those things that only he can do. Basically, right now he's batting .200. But I don't see any reason why he can't get back to that. He's got to do what he's got to do."
Other teams have until Tuesday morning to claim Richards. Otherwise, he will be sent to Manchester of the American Hockey League to work on his game.