Flyers Fan + Kings Fan + DieHard x Mike Richards = One Awesome Email

I love our diehard L.A. Kings fans. You are me. I am you. Kindred spirits. Mike Richards’ acquisition created a unique and powerful breed, a mutant of sorts but one I have come to also love and respect – The Flyers & Kings Fan Fusion.

Today, I received an email, well, three emails from one such diehard. I enjoyed it, every bit of it and I had to share.

Flyers fan here (and HUGE Kings fan since 4pm EST 6/23 when Ed Snider made the worst mistake of his tenure). I love your site, I check out Surly and Scribe every day for the blog reports. You guys rock!

Shucks.

This is an article posted today by NHL.com listing the top 3 (thru the first quarter) Selke nominees and Mike Richards (In my opinion, the NHL’s most complete player and the player with the highest hockey IQ in the league. Painful that he’ s playing with parking cones for wingers ) is listed # 2

I am sure he she didn’t mean Andrei Loktionov. That was a Penner reference…not certain Dustin Brown is a cone but, to be blunt, you know I want Gagne and Williams as Richards’ wings. Moving on…

Two telling stats :

On the PK Richards has been on the ice for more than 51 minutes shorthanded this season and only one 4-on-5 goal against. That’s just outstanding even by Richards standards. And he ‘s only been on the ice for 7 even strength goals against for the year, facing top competition which puts in #2 in the league. Now if someone could find a mad scientist to invent a cloning machine, we can replicate him and Kopi and have a whole team who understands playing all balls and heart. Know that he’s not even 100% MR mode yet. That will come post All Star game when the final drive for the division and conference posturing is on, he’ll start to become predator.

I don’t know about you, but I got a semi.

But it’s in the playoffs that you see when he has won championships at every level he’s ever played at, he becomes a shark in blood infested waters, total predator. He’s just outstanding to the point where you’ll get tired of saying out loud, ‘I can’t f’n believe what I just saw!”

Last year, unfortunately, he played the whole year with torn ligaments and cartilage in his left wrist and as the year wore down, it almost crippled him. He also got pneumonia just as the Buffalo series started and dropped close to 15 pounds (If you google the post game interviews from that series , you can see how thin and gaunt he is) I’ve never had pneumonia but I think playing hockey at playoff level with it can’t be a lot of fun. Despite that, that unmatched heart of his didn’t quit. In 7 games against the Vanek line, they only got 1 ES goal. Richards was on the ice for 7 Flyer goals which led all Flyers and only 2 going the other way, which also led all Flyers. Against the Bruins, that busted up wrist and bad lungs put up 25 shots on goal in the first three games, which also led all Flyers.

We call that a warrior, boys and girls.

I ‘ve been a Flyers fan since I was a kid in the early 70’s and have seen a lot of coaches (including Murray and Stevens). Lombardi should realize Murray’s systems are outdated and not suited for the talent on this team. Also, he cannot motivate, which is required. Also, MR needs wingers-BADLY. The guy is all alone on that line and a talented playmaker with him can do a lot of damage with a top winger who can finish. Shame on TM for having that guy (Gagne) who’s had brilliant history with Richards and they’ve not played a shift together. If you can’t figure that out, trade for one but get him some help.

Telling stat on Richards – Captained his Rangers team to a Memorial Cup Championship, was selected to be Capt (over guys named Crosby and the most talented cup team assembled) of the World Juniors team and won Gold (and separated Ovechkin’s shoulder in the gold medal game for dissing the American team), drafted by the Flyers and went to their AHL Team the Phantoms, led them to a Calder Cup and was selected to the 2010 Olympic team (and on it’s best line/most effective) won Gold.

Memorial cup, World Cup, Calder Cup, Olympic Gold – Only player in the NHL in this decade who has achieved that. That’s not a coincidence, he is just that good a player and leader. If the opportunity arose, he’d be great as the kings Captain. I think he already is, but not wearing the C.

I knew all of this but every time I read it, it brings perspective on how Mike Richards has literally been a winner at every level he has played and at everything he has done – the only thing missing is the Stanley Cup…for now.

Oh…please don’t believe the garbage posted about Richards on the Internet regarding the trade. He wasn’t a ‘poison’ or ‘cancer’ (I hate trolls) in the room. Per Chuck Gormley of the Burlington County Courier (Chucks pucks site) now with CSN Washinjgton and one of the few total objective reporters that covered the Flyers for years, this from a blog post season when a fan asked him if Richards caused a problem and what about Pronger. His reply was ‘By all the games I’ve covered, by all I’ve seen and all the players I’ve talked to, Mike Richards is liked and respected by every player in that room, not one player on of off the record would say a bad word about him. He went on to state that Pronger was respected by most but liked by few.

That’s basically what happened. The Flyers made Richards captain and 8 mos later cut him off at the knees by bringing in Pronger. Pronger has a huge ego, does not let anybody tell him what to do, esp a 24 year old kid who he has 14 years on. He has to be the only voice, the big dog in the house. There was no room for debate. That is what caused the division, the players to a man liked, respected and were loyal to Richards, but afraid of Pronger (and his temper, did a lot of screaming and yelling often heard by reporters in the hall after losses). Pronger has an overbearing personality and his caustic and abrasive demeanor and that temper, has fractured every team he’s played on and he’s been traded 4 times for that reason.

Richards is a great leader, you can see that already in the 21 games as a King and he’ll only get better. Let his play and leadership be your measuring stick, don’t buy into the crap that the trolls (led by two Philly reporters who despised Richards and bled negative in their articles, making stuff up (using the ever popular ‘anonymous source’) at times, that is on the internet.

Ed Snider saw red and lost part of his sanity when the Boston series ended and Richards had the C, and Snider (overheard by a Philly sports talk radio show guy) ‘I want him gone’ and gone he was, to the Kings.

Part of what led to that was the tailspin the Flyers took last spring, losing games and divisional points. Richards was in a lot of pain at that time (which we found out post season but suspected it, you could see his play was off) and did give a few surly / moody responses to repeated questions post game. But at least he was real, better that than vanilla pudding stepford, standard canned responses of his teammates (we have to play harder/ we need 60 minutes/…arghhh).

That factored into his decision (not Homer’s, he is a total Richards guy, which is why he was so choked up the day of the trade in that video he can’t speak).  When Ed says jump, you say how high. It was not his call to trade Richards. That and the fact Lavy loves Pronger and has wanted him Captain since he arrived as Coach. They are a lot alike personality wise.

The Flyers hung their hopes on an aging, now injury prone 38 year old all star defenseman in the twilight of his career and gave up on a stud 26 year old center who is all heart and guts and not even in his prime yet.

Major Fail on the Flyers part—-HUGE coup / victory for the Kings. He will win you a Cup.

My only satisfaction is that somewhere in the near future, Snider will have a stroke watching Richards skate around the Staples center with the Cup in one arm and the Conn Smythe in the other.

Have a great holiday and I love your website, your insights and your debates. Your articles are always interesting and timely and call out what’s required.

Love your work….

Deirdre

Northeast Phila

Seriously, I got wood…but there is more.

PS: I forgot to put in the previous post that in a very good article in the Hockey News this summer about the Kings and more specifically , how landing Richards was a great move, Carpe Diem, by Adam Proteau.

Proteau reflects on why the Flyers spin bad / negative things about Richards

“It’s like when a stunning woman breaks up with you and you embellish and invent things about her to make yourself feel better because she’s not around anymore”

That really summed it up and is a great analogy.

Deirdre

And still more from Deirdre – how do you not love this guy girl!?

PSS: Last note on Richards’ leadership

A great way to measure a leader is how he reacts to extreme pressure and darkest hours … In Mike’s case that was the 7 game series against Boston in 2010. When you’re the Captain, leader, and pressure holder for a team that is down 0-3 in a Stanley Cup playoff how you react is a large part of what makes you a leader. It’s a part of the reason why it’s only been achieved 3 times in NHL history.

When you have to play / lead with your back to the wall every shift for 4 straight games, it shows your true mettle. And he showed it in spades. Not only was he the leading offensive guy (9 points / 7 games) but he physically dominated every shift and neutralized Chara for 7 games. He took a physical pounding out there, given Chara is a foot taller and 80 lbs heavier but he never gave an inch. It was beyond inspirational. Danny Briere commented that from the bench when you saw how much he sacrificed his body and how hard he worked, you couldn’t wait to get over the boards to live up to that standard for your shift.

And that….that is the essence of Mike Richards and the Richards effect. Combination of grit, guts, High IQ and equal parts inspiration / desperation and perspiration.

That’s why he’s an excellent Captain and has excelled at every level, because the guys on the bench will play hard for him and follow him.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

36 replies

  1. Hi Bobby, Deirdre here (she by the way, not he. LOL) Thanks for posting this (and cleaning up the typos, I have carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands and typing soemtimes is hard). I just wanted the Kings fans to really base their judgements on Mike by his play not by the negative internet spin. He will only get better. Reading the Thanksgiving comments on Mayors manor yesterday, Martinez was thankful for Richards and one of his points was that Richards was great in the locker room. Something that has been echoed from other teammates in varous interviews.
    On the ice-you’ve seen what he does. He’s fearless, won’t back down from anybody. And wait until the Kings plays the Caps (Bobby knows what I’m talking about …) .
    By the way, I did mean Penner and other assorted wannabees on LW. But I don’t like Brown RW, he and Richie little chemistry; I feel Brown would be better on the third line with Stoll as a shutdown line.
    I hard on NHL live today that Ingala is being shopped. Maybe Deano can work some magic. Wouldn’t Richards and Ingala be good aatogther
    Of course so would Kopi and Parise with Richards and Gagne..

    Thanks again
    Deirdre

  2. …I hard on NHL live today that Ingala is being shopped… should read heard. damn carpel tunnel…

    Also, you want to see how Richards bleeds for team? How much heart he has? This is after the Flyers lost to the Hawks and he had to watch them parade that cuip around his rink in front of his fans. He’s fighting back tears here…watch /listen to his reacton when they ask ‘how much does this hurt’ and he says ‘alot’ and struggles to continue. When he head comes up, you can see the tears in his eyes. That’s the kind of leader you want, someone who is totally gutted like that.

    http://www.flyersfancentral.com/2010/06/mike-richards-post-game-6-interview-june-9/

    In an interview with Elliot Friedman (CBC) just after this, he blamed himself for the Cup loss, that he didn’t do his job and cited that that Hawks had 4 lines going and the FLyers only three (his line didn’t produce) and said that was something he’d be thinking about all summer.

    Deirdre

  3. I loved this letter! I commented the other day that I frickin love Mike Richrds. He reminds me a little of Adam Deadmarsh, whom I also love. He’s gotten better and better every game, and I can’t wait to see how he not only elevates his game in the playoffs but inspires his teammates to do the same.

    Go Kings!

  4. The main thing I got from reading that was TM is the wrong guy to be coaching this team but since that probably wont change anytime soon why not try this?

    (I know this is a bit unorthodox but why the hell not)

    Kopitar-Richards-Williams
    Gagne-Loktionov-Brown
    Penner-Stoll-Moreau
    Clifford-Lewis-Richardson-Hunter-Westgarth-Fraser

    Would moving Kopitar (or Richards) to the wing disrupt their game that much?

    • Anjin: If the GM would pull his head out of his ass, and get rid of Murray, most likely Stevens takes over in the interim.
      Guess who was the coach in the AHL for the Phantoms when they won the Calder? John Stevens.
      Richards and Gagne know Stevens system, and if the GM would finally get rid of a coach who just kills a players stats, Stevens takes over.
      New system, new energy, maybe then the 2 goal average per game goes up.
      Richards has been a stud out there. The guy is money on the PK, he has lead the NHL in shorties a few times.
      When I was watching the 1st few Kings games after their European Vacation, I saw Richards pressuring guys on the PK, and blocking shots. I was so happy to actually see a forward blocking a shot.
      If our coach would put Gagne with Richards I’d hope to see Brown or Williams on that second line.
      You don’t move Kopitar to the wing with Richards, it defeats the point of having 2 lines instead of 1 line teams will focus on.
      Having Richards centering the 2nd line takes pressure off Kopitar so if frees him up to do what he does.
      Richards does not need to wear a letter on his jersey. Let him just play, he looks like he is having fun. Maybe after a season with the Kings, getting to know the guys, then perhaps you give him an A.
      Personally, I think that whole Captain thing is over-rated. You have a bunch of guys who can motivate their teammates, but IMO, players shouldn’t have to be motivated, they get paid a lot of money, this should be what motivates them.
      I know there are more than a few people that think TM is the wrong coach for this team. I have been telling all of my peeps this since they lost to Vancouver a few years ago in their 1st playoff appearance in 8 years.
      Last season it was so obvious that TM needed to go.
      Murray got to use the Kopitar/Williams card as a reason why the Kings broke down at the end of the season, could not win 1 game in the last 5 I think to secure 4th place, which would have meant home ice versus Nashville and team they pretty much owned (Bernier). DL should have sent him packing after they had the Sharks beat in the 1st round playoffs.
      How can’t you win 1 home game in a 7 games series? How can you lose 3 games I think in OT?
      How can you lose a game where you are up 4-0.
      How can you lose a game where you have a 5 minute PP in the last few minutes of regular time, and then the carryover to OT and get 1 shot on net?
      Murray did nothing, just sat behind the bench while the wheels were falling off.
      My tantrum is not over, but I will cut it short for now.

  5. …Would moving Kopitar (or Richards) to the wing disrupt their game that much?…

    As much as I love Kopi and Richie playing together (IMO why the term ‘working on their chemistry’ is overrated.) From the first game against the Rangers, these guys were good together. For me, that’s not chemistry as much as skilled, elite players with high IQ who know how to win. And we get to see that on PP and when they are on PK. They are good together. (side note- did you see when Kopi scored against the blues the other night when RIchie passed him that puck and came around the back of the net? Kopi’s right arm comes up in a ‘you d’man!” gesture…)

    But that would take away what makes Kopi and Richie such a force, having two heart and soul, elite center/leaders. If MR is given the right wingers, finishers, true top 6 players (Loki is very good with Richie, keep him there) You’d see more goals from that line and more wins.

    I can’t prove this, but I think the reason that MR had only 2 goals in his first 14 games and 8 since is that for those 14 games he got NOWHERE passing the puck. He ‘s been patient to the point of sainthood with his wingers of the day. I think he finally said ‘screw this, I’m gonna shoot more’. Because I’ve seen him become more agressive in the last 8 games. I think he knows he’s best percentage is shooting, But with Loki, maybe he’s got 1 asset now.

    • “Would moving Kopitar (or Richards) to the wing disrupt their game that much?”

      I think that is a very, very bad idea. Kopi needs to be in the middle of the ice because he is so effective there. If you put him or Richards on the wing, you leave a pretty big gap down the middle for the other lines you have to roll.

      It’s a good idea for late game/double shifting situations and special teams.

  6. Love him Love him Love him!!
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  7. ……Would moving Kopitar (or Richards) to the wing disrupt their game that much?…
    Follow up o n that. Something I wish TM would do , that Lavvy did, was if you’re down by a goal with a minute or so left in the period, put them out there together. Lavvy would do that when the Flyers were down. He’d have Briere ,Giroux and Richie out there. And it worked…
    I keep thinking (such a sucker for pumishment LOL) that the lightbulb will go on in TM’s head and spark a bit of creativity. But alas, that has yet to happen except when in OT and 4 x 4.

  8. Richards is the man. He has shown every bit of the talent and leadership he had in Philly.

    I do wonder if there’s any friction between him and Brown…?

  9. …I do wonder if there’s any friction between him and Brown…?…

    I think you are on the right track. I don’t know what the right word is but there is something not right with that picture, so to speak.
    Maybe (just speculation on my part) Brown is somewhat intimidated by Richards and what he does/brings? I mean Brown’s role on the team has changed somewhat and maybe a part of him is trying to accept that MR is a leader here now.
    NOt sure what exactly it is, but I agree, there is an uncomfortable feeling when they’re out there. I don’t get that sense with loki or even Penner or parse. It’s just with Brown and I can’t help but feel is tied to the C and the shift in leadership.

    • I think Brown might be trying to do what Briere said he did with Richards only Brown doesn’t have the hands to pull off what he’s trying to pull off.

      Brown’s a hitter, that’s it. Yeah, he can see the game and make some nice passes here and there but fact be known, he’s known in the league as a guy who punishes the other team’s players with some excruciating hits but alas, seems he’s too scared to do that anymore, or at least half as much as he did the last few seasons.

      Trying to outplay Richards isn’t going to work for him. He needs to realize his role as a leader and accept the fact that everyone’s in the locker room to do a specific job. HIS job is to open up lanes for Richards, clean up his trash and pummel some turds in the process to create some chances.

  10. Brown’s not a cone, but he’s been impersonating one at times.

    One way of looking at which of our other players to keep, moving forward, is whether they respond to our man’s example. How ’bout it fellas – Cup, anyone?

    By “example”, I mean “finishing.” I mean: “I will not allow you to stop me – I will MAKE this happen.”

    • Brown’s a cone? wtf games are you guys watching? Sure, he often stupidly tries to stickhandle through the entire defense, but he isn’t slow. His speed is what allows him to attempt his 1 on 5’s in the first place.His speed is what helps him crush other players.

      • My only knock on Brown is he uses the same move almost everytime he has a one on one situation. His rag the puck back through his legs is a nice move, only problem is, the opposition knows he is going to do this before he does.
        Brownie is just starting to get into smash mouth hockey. His hits are getting better and he isn’t checking the boards as much.
        The hit him and Scuderi laid on Bergfors in the NSH game was Hansonesque.

        • I would say it looks pretty but it’s really not that effective for anyone. I’d like to see him use his speed, shield the puck and take it to outside towards the net more often. That or instead of dragging the puck through his legs fire off a shot right there through a partial screen a la Ovi.

  11. Richards is everything I thought he would be. Schenn could possibly turn out better, but waiting a few years to see if he possibly could is not worth as much as Richards’ proven capabilities now. And with a cap friendly contract, I think it is even more of a win.

    I don’t want to sound like a dick, but Brown is half the player Richards’ is. Brown does not really have a scoring touch or the complete hockey IQ that Richards does. I notice that Brown is at his worst when he is entering the offensive zone with the puck in his hand. If you notice, he typically has his head down the majority of the time looking at the puck, occasionally it is up but looking forward, not to the side. This obviously creates almost no opportunities except a shot to the net (and there is usually never anyone close by the net for a rebound opportunity).Brown may not be a polished playmaker, but I think he is at his best in a secondary role either rushing the net on secondary opportunities or standing 10-15 feet away from the net.

    I’d hate to see him get third line minutes. But if we can get an “elite winger” maybe he would be best on an overal good third line. Stoll, Richardson, Brown maybe.

    As far as the lack of physicality, the first few games of the year he was credited with I think 0 hits, even though he did hit. Hitting is very subjective. I’m not saying he has been as physical as years past, but I think he is not getting the benefit of the doubt sometimes as well.

  12. - Always hated Pronger.
    – Already love Richards, now more
    – Fire Terry Murray

  13. Outstanding read.

    The last couple years, as some will tell you, I have been hard on Kopitar. Kopitar has world class skill and average mental skills including leadership. Your description of Richards attributes and his will to “The Man” is outstanding and it’s preciously what Kopitar was lacking….until now.

    In my opinion, Richards biggest contribution to the team so far is showing Kopitar how to be a complete player, a winner in mind-set, and to compete not only with skill but with heart. It may not be by design on Richards part, but one things for sure, people like Richards inspire others to be better, to hold oneself accountable and be the best on a nightly basis. Kopitar has taken huge strides this year mentally with his game and consistency…..coincidence?

  14. Richards is the man and I think that one day he will be the captain of the Kings. …..but why the negativity on DB23. He kind of is what he is and playing like he always has (minus the amount of hits…but that seems to be picking up). I don’t think he’s intimidated by Richards in any way. He is not an elite player like Kopitar or Richards, but he consistently puts up 20+ goals in an offense-choking system from Murray that sucks the careers out of quite a few others. He’s kind of a spaz, stick-handles one or two too many times….but you gotta love the guys heart. I think he’s a perfect match with Richards IF they can find a winger to play with them that can actually bury the puck from the scoring zones. Maybe someone like Gagne would be perfect on that line?
    GO KINGS! …..and please fire Murray.

  15. Richards is amazing. Love having him on the team. Great letter

  16. I hope he can have that effect on Doughty!

  17. Just to play devil’s advocate, Richards also said this:
    [Thankful for] “Penner because he brings a lot of laughter. He has different stories every day that are pretty funny.”

    Maybe he’s just being a kind soul and throwing Tin Man a bone.

    • I have heard Penner is very popular in the locker room. Not only funny but his iPod is chalk full of awesome and the players appreciate it.

    • You won’t hear RIchards saying negative things about a teammate. For example, on left wing most of last year he played with a rookie, Andreas Nodl , who has lots of energy but barely 4th line skill. Nodl got 11 goals (which he’ll never match again) courtesy of Richards passing. At one point Nodl went 20 games without a goal. The passes were there , Nodl didn’t have the skill or mindset to act on them. And when reporters would cite one of those plays, Richards would deflect them but pointing out a postive (…yeah but he blocked those two shots in the third period when we needed it…) he never gave up on Nodl, spent extra practice sessions working with him and when Nodl would flub a pass, he’d tap his stick to his legs and say something postiive.

      It’s one of the many reasons that he’s a good teammate. He tried to work with Nodl, a young player and keep him positive. At the same time, if he felt it was required, he ‘d address on ice problems or lazy play privately with a player (something Lavvy relayed in an article about Mike being a quiet leader.)

      • So you’re saying you too want to see Gagne-Richards-Williams…that’s what I got out of that story :)

        For those yelling “and the first line?!” Loktionov-Kopitar-Brown, for now, until Lokti has his own 3rd line with Clifford and Kozun after the arrival of Zach Parise…what?

  18. Richards is one helluva player. Stoked to have him. If he does get into turbo mode post All star game that would be an interesting sight to see. It looks like Kopi and Richards want that damn cup really, really badly. How can you mess with that motivation?

    But I agree with you and have been saying this all last year that TM is not the guy to get us to the promised land.

  19. Been busy with family stuff for a while, but wanted to say to you guys (Surly, and Scribe) have had a wonderful time being a part of your blog, and hope you guys are having an awesome thanksgiving. I will be in a suite at Staples on Saturday for the Chicago game. Post your sections so I can drop by and say hello.

  20. I’ve said from day 1 that Richards will show this team what winning is all about, to play each and every shift balls to wall and give it everything you’ve got, and I’m finally starting to see Kings fans truly understand this and what kind of players Mike Richards is.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,099 other followers

%d bloggers like this: