A previous item discussed the need for the Kings to play better in the middle of the ice against the Detroit Red Wings. That discussion probably starts with Mike Richards, who had a rough all-around game against the Red Wings last week, one that culminated in a defensive-zone mental mistake that led directly to a Detroit goal. It’s been a strange season for Richards, who had 11 goals in his first 24 games this season but now has scored only one goal since Dec. 23. Darryl Sutter was asked today whether he was concerned about Richards’ lack of production.
SUTTER: “Well, we need the line to produce. If you look at it, and prorate it, both of those lines [first two lines] are clicking on a 70-, 75-goal pace. If you had those two lines doing that for a whole 82 games, instead of breaking it down individually, that’s pretty good. To me, he is the best two-way centerman in the NHL. If it’s someone telling you that you’re not scoring enough, or doing this or that, that’s not what your game is about. Your game is about being on the right side of the puck and making plays. I’m not worried about it. I’m really not worried about it at all, from his standpoint. Everybody talked about his mistake in Detroit. Well, if that’s the only mistake he makes, every five or six games, I can take that.’’