clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mike Richards charged with possession, but the Kings still look worse than he does

Kings logic: Possession of some pills for personal use = contract termination. Beating up your girlfriend = not.

Getty Images

Former Flyers captain Mike Richards has been charged by police in Manitoba for possession of a controlled substance. He was reportedly charged on August 25, and he will appear in court on September 10.

If convicted, Richards could be fined up to $1,000 or sentenced to no more than six months in prison.

The Los Angeles Kings terminated Richards' contract  -- the same 12 year, $69 million contract he originally signed with the Flyers back in 2008 -- on June 29, citing a "material breach." It was reported back in June that Richards had been arrested attempting to cross the Canadian border with possession of Oxycontin. Here's TSN discussing that:

Canadian border guards found "some pills in a single bottle" during a random search of Richards' car and he was arrested by RCMP, a source told TSN. "It was clearly a small quantity intended for his personal use," the source told TSN.

On August 10, the NHLPA filed a grievance against the Kings on behalf of Richards, contesting the termination of the contract.

This isn't to diminish what could be a serious problem that Richards faces, but it's pretty clear general manager Dean Lombardi and the Kings are trying to use a loophole here to get out of the five years and $25 million that remain on the deal. Lombardi has to be kicking himself for not using a compliance buyout on Richards last summer -- especially after Richards' play degraded to the point of sending him to the AHL midseason in 2014-15 -- and this is an easy attempt to fix that error in judgment.

But he comes off as a huge hypocrite here -- at best. Lombardi's Kings failed to do anything after much more serious domestic charges came out against defenseman Slava Voynov last summer -- in fact, Lombardi undermined the NHL's suspension of Voynov by allowing him to practice with the team at one point.

If Richards' alleged personal drug use is enough to warrant termination of a contract, certainly beating up on one's girlfriend is as well?

Then again, Richards isn't valuable on the ice and his contract is an albatross, while Voynov is still seen as a hockey player that can contribute positively. So, you know. It seems the Kings have a handle on what matters.

Richards remains an unrestricted free agent, although signing with a team seems highly unlikely until this is all sorted out. Voynov is currently serving 90 days at a "luxury, pay-to-stay jail" in Southern California. He'll be out before training camp and is still under contract, meaning there's still a chance he's in a Kings uniform this fall.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Broad Street Hockey Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A weekly roundup of Philadelphia Flyers news from Broad Street Hockey