Flyers fans are passionate about their Mike Richards, as is demonstrated by this email I received yesterday, which, though addressed to me, is meant for all of you.
Long time (over 30 years) flyers fan here. I found your site (sister site) thru Broad Street Hockey. Although it will take some time before I am over the devastation I felt (I am still in mourning) when at 4pm Thursday 6/23/11 the heart and soul of the Flyers was traded, I think the fans from LA might benefit from knowing a little about Richie.
NHL's most complete player. Pavel Datysuk aside, the best two way forward in the game. Can use every tool in the hockey bag and use it well. Can be put into any game situation and succeed. Top-line, tough-minutes player who has only missed one game in the last two and a half years, and, on a nightly basis, shuts down the top lines of any team. In the three years prior to 2010, when he was the Flyers #1 center playing with Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble, was a top two-way center who scored 90 goals. This, while being a stud two-way player. That changed last year when the coach at the onset of the season stated "Mike will center our checking line, offensive won't be his first priority".
He played with torn cartilage in his left (power) hand for the entire year (yes, from training camp on! The Flyers opted not to have surgery for him, let him play thru it).
Anyone able to clarify this? Is Richards in need of surgery?
He still got almost 70 points and lead the team on power play point and penalty-killing points. Then he got pneumonia at the onset of the Buffalo series in the playoffs, dropped a lot of weight, but didn't miss a shift.
Mike Richards has enough heart to light up an entire skyline. Desire is second to none, no quit in his game. He hits like freight train. Here's a two minute sample of what he brings.
And if one of his teammates is wronged, or if the team needs a lift if their playing flat or uninspired, he's got no problem dropping the gloves. Not sure if you've seen this, Richards fighting Corey Perry:
His hockey IQ is off the charts. He anticipates better than anybody I've seen. NHL Analyst Bill Clement said that Richie has "broad ice vision, only a handful of players have it and he has it in spades." Wait until you see how long he can hold onto the puck in the offensive zone and lure defensemen into committing before threading a perfect pass for a goal. It's the reason he is a lethal penalty killer. His 23 shorthanded goals lead the league and his three scored while down 5-3 are an all time NHL record.
I assume that's career short-handed goals. Not sure if she means he's the all-time leader, or leader among active players, or what. That's a lot of short-handed goals anyway.
He quarterbacks the powerplay and does especially well playing the point.
Leadership, off the charts. Has won championships at every level. Captained the Kitchener Rangers to the Memorial Cup Championship, 2003; captained Team Canada to World Cup Gold in 2005; chosen to be captain over guys named Crosby and Getzlaf among others; deemed 'Captain Canada' by journalists up north; led (AHL) Phantoms to the Calder Cup Championship; led Flyers to two Eastern Conference Finals and a Stanley cup Final; won gold with Team Canada in 2010. Richie is the only NHL player who has won a Memorial Cup, World Cup, Calder Cup and Olympic Gold.
You want to see what a leader does? This is game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. Flyers were losing 1-0 and playing flat. Montreal had a power play and Richie already killed off 40 seconds of that when what has become known here as "The Shift" began.
Just as impressive was this effort at the end of the game. Flyers leading 3-2 with less 30 seconds, Montreal pulls the goalie. This is pure determination and will, and comes from within; you can't teach it and it's the reason he'll be sipping champagne from the silver Cup next year with the Kings. Who does that for an empty net goal?
Thanks to Center Ice, I can watch every game he plays as a King and root hard for him. L.A Fans will come to love him as I do and most Flyers fan did. You just got yourself a 2012 date for a Stanley Cup Victory Parade, lead by a warrior with an unyielding heart.
I hope she also joins JftC and continues the conversation. Anyone else with Richards insights, send them in, or use the "fanpost" feature on the right margin.