Mike Richards is a free agent. How he became a free agent will soon be played out for all of us to see.
Richards was terminated from the remainder of his mammoth 69 million dollar 12 year deal, with still five years and nearly 29 million dollars left on the deal.
The LA Kings released a memo on their website today, stating that Richards was in a ‘material breach’ of his Standard Player’s Contract. While the Kings would not provide the details of the transgression, you can bet that this will come out in the wash in the next few days.
Without boring you with the minutia of contract law, Paragraph 14 in the SPC reads, that the deal can be terminated if any player shall “fail, refuse or neglect to obey the Club’s rules governing training and conduct of Players.”
The fact that there was no immediate rebuttal by Richards, the NHLPA or Richard’s reps from Newport Sports indicates that if Richards and his group decide to grieve this matter, they had better get their ducks in a row.
But this goes further than Richards; this tarnishes the brand that is the Los Angeles Kings. This team has had two Stanley Cup Champions over the past four years, yet all we see is the moral compass of this team being spun around like a tornado.
Slava Voynov is on trial for felony domestic violence. Jarret Stoll was convicted of two misdemeanors and was lucky not to be deported over bringing cocaine and Ecstasy into the MGM Grand in Vegas, and now Richards. Based on early reports from those who know the inner workings of this situation, Richards’ transgression is quote ‘a whopper’.
LA’s termination of this deal is the first step in the right path to get this team back on course. The question now is what did Richards do, and how deep does he drag not just the LA Kings, but the National Hockey League, down the rabbit hole?