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Mike Richards moves on from Philadelphia, looks ahead to winning in Los Angeles

Jul 28, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Mike Richards AP

It’s been a whirlwind last few days for new Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards. While he was traded to L.A. from Philadelphia just over a month ago in June, the talk of late has surrounded his days in Philadelphia as an apparent party boy that wasn’t taking his role with the Flyers as captain seriously and leading to him (and Jeff Carter) finding their way out of town.

While Richards has done his part to rebuff those allegations, the time to move forward is now. Richards finally had a chance to sit down and talk with the media in Los Angeles and get off on the right foot with Kings supporters. While Richards was one of the top men in Philly, he joins the Kings where a top center is already in place in Anze Kopitar and an old friend and teammate will join him in Simon Gagne. Having former Flyers head coach John Stevens as an assistant to Kings coach Terry Murray helps make the transition easier as well.

As for Richards,  he is eager to get things going in Southern California and get a fresh start.

“It’s always easier coming in when you know the system and not to have to learn the Xs and Os and there’s more focus on learning who you’re playing with,” Richards said Wednesday in his first formal meeting with the local media.

“When you don’t have to learn the system, it makes things a lot easier going through training camp. You’re not thinking too much as you normally would .. I think that’s going to be the biggest thing that’s going to help me get adjusted to L.A.”

Getting to play alongside former teammate Gagne and Kings captain Dustin Brown as well as Kopitar and Justin Williams as well will make life easier as well. As for the party boy talk and allegations that are trying to follow him to California, Richards is doing his part to move on from that and focus on Kings hockey. The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott finds out that Richards is still smarting from all that.

Richards, who planned to fly back East on Thursday, said he looked forward to having a lower profile here. He said he didn’t know why he was traded but downplayed a recent Philadelphia Daily News story in which two unnamed Flyers said his hard partying was a factor.

“It’s tough sometimes seeing these articles or hearing some things that are said when you know that they aren’t true,” he said. “It’s almost mentally draining when you keep having to back your story up off the ice, defending yourself when people say things that aren’t really correct.”

Learning his lesson from these stories, true or not, should only help Richards stay intense and focused in L.A. Having Richards play in the Western Conference, where the play is a bit more physical and demanding thanks to travel and competition level, should help Richards look like one of the top centers in the game once again.

His physical play and scoring ability in Philadelphia helped set him apart in the East, but in the West he should thrive going up against other similar players. While his play on the ice will determine how he’s perceived, this change of scenery for Richards could prove to be the best thing for his career.

  1. jsaq - Jul 28, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    What really strikes me is how oblivious Richards seems about the events that helped lead to his departure from Philadelphia. For instance, Dry Island. Richards called it a joke or a game, suggesting that it was not a serious endeavor. Yet, Peter Laviolette sure seemed to treat it as a serious effort to do a little team building.

    Richards also said that the locker room was like a “family”, yet at least two members of that family talked about Dry Island to a gossip columnist. Maybe Richards meant Addams Family.

    The bottom line is, Richards seems to be on a different page than most of the Flyers coaches and staff, which is worrisome when you consider Richards was the team’s captain.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Jul 28, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      Agreed my friend. This dude obviously thinks that the WHOLE organization was in the wrong. Well we watched you play this past season. And all the ‘rumors’ and pictures floating around on the internet didn’t help your cause. I has some grow up to do. Hopefully he can. But the Flyers did the right thing in moving him and Carter.

      • derpdederpdederp - Jul 29, 2011 at 12:21 AM

        “Richards also said that the locker room was like a “family”, yet at least two members of that family talked about Dry Island to a gossip columnist. ”

        and those 2 “family members” are what many would call a disgrace to the game. everyone knows stuff like that is meant to stay in the locker room. even their GM thinks so. if I were him I would’ve shipped those poor excuses for teammates as far away from my organization as possible

  2. bcjim - Jul 28, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    He is just a sleazy looking character, imo. Maybe he get a gig on Jersey shore if LA doesn’t work out.

    • joeypucks - Jul 28, 2011 at 10:41 PM

      LOL, bcjim.. he sleazy looking. Actually he looks like exactly what he is, a shady, untrusting rat. Who, when looking at his track record, often took advantage of fellow players caught in helpless positions trying to end careers. I’ve said it many times he only hit the lady byngs of the league, I wish Kasparitis (or Stevens) were still playing so he can catch a dose of that medicine. But it will come, keep your head up slim shady! Karma is a Beach.
      @jsaq, you’re right too. look at his quote in this article “people say things that aren’t really correct.” If it were about me and not true, I would be defending it a little stronger (especially to the public) than saying “aren’t really correct.” Everyone should read between the lines there.
      Philly couldn’t ship him any further away west, except Hawaii or Alaska, but there are no NHL teams there.

      • derpdederpdederp - Jul 29, 2011 at 12:24 AM

        good solid Canadian player. nothing more, nothing less. bad-mouth him all you want but you’d be on your knees “taking care” of him if he got traded to your team

      • joeypucks - Jul 31, 2011 at 6:29 PM

        sounds like you’ve been there.

  3. islandersfan - Jul 28, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    Whatever happened in Philidelphia should stay there, this is a new start for him there is no point in drudging up the past.

    What should worry Philly fans and Management most right now instead of saying how glad they are to “get rid of the partier” (However true or falso that may be) You now have people talking to the media about stuff that should stay in the locker room. If Philadephia got rid of Carter and Richards for their disruptive locker room presence you only got rid of the tip of the iceberg .. or maybe even got rid of the ones keeping the lid on the issue.

    Anyone in the Philidelphia locker room needs to simply shut up – Richards and Carter have new homes now and neither are going to cause Philidelphia any more problems (or solutions if they were provided)

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Jul 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      Don’t you have bigger issues @ hand? Like where your team is going to play?

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