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Sutter on Richards: His only reward is winning

Jun 6, 2014, 1:33 AM EDT

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One Getty Images

It’s been brought up in the past: talk of a summer buyout for L.A. Kings center Mike Richards.

He’s got six years remaining in a massive 12-year, $69 million deal, according to Capgeek.com, that he signed when he was still a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Yet, he’s only scored twice in these playoffs, and has nine points in 22 post-season games, including Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

He’s also averaging just over 15 minutes of ice time in these playoffs. So, given his stats and his salary, it’s easy to look to him as a buyout possibility. But Kings head coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t seem to buy into it. Richards also has a track record for winning, whether it’s in the NHL, or for Team Canada in the Olympic and World Junior Championships, or in the Ontario Hockey League.

And the Kings are now three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years.

“I don’t think it’s very hard at all when you have a good relationship with players and you’ve had a track record of winning with those players. That player has a track record of winning and for sure understanding what his role is. Basically he just wins,” Sutter told reporters.

“He’s had to accept roles. Doesn’t matter if you think he’s a first line centerman or second line centerman. The only reward for somebody like Mike Richards in all this is just winning. He’s all set. He’s won everything. It’s just winning again, that’s all.”

  1. aldog83 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    Fair enough.

    If the KINGS keep winning.

    Pay the man!

    He is a leader.

    A tough. A good defender.

    I’m sure Chicago could have use a #2 center like Richards.

    Keep him in LA untill there we have an obvious replacement.

    Right now…..

    Nobody will match the heart and winning that Mike Richards brings to the table.

    Can’t argue with 3 straight conference finals and a Stanley Cup…

    • aldog83 - Jun 6, 2014 at 2:56 AM

      sorry about the lack of grammar.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jun 6, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        No apology necessary, aldog. Your heart is in the right place, grammar notwithstanding! :)

        Mike Richards has more heart than any normal human being. While he’s been relegated to less than first-line roles, he’s played his heart out in the playoffs. Sutter knows he can count on Mike to fill a role wherever necessary (including PK, PP), and to fill it well.

        Mike has been inspiring as he does the not-so-well-advertised things that make and keep the Kings a winner. When Justin Williams was asked about his OT goal in game 1, his first remark was that he got the puck in a pass from Mike.

        Mike has been playing balls-to-the-wall hockey, just as all the Kings have been. His track record (won every championship and just about every award) makes him a valuable member of this Kings’ team. And, if he’s traded or bought out, lucky is the team that acquires him. Their post-season hopes will have increased tremendously.

        Go, Mike! GKG!!!

      • petersteelewannabe - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Following up Pat’s post, also Richards made a subtle, but key play on Doughty’s tying goal; he went straight to the net forcing the D man to engage him. As soon as that happened Ritchie just moved him to the right and gave Lundqvist 50% more net to worry about covering and that gave Drew more than enough of an advantage against a goalie playing very, very well. Keep it up MR!

    • neonpep - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      As a Flyers fan, I agree that Richards does have a lot of heart and always hussels when on the ice. Wishing him and the Kings good luck, hopefully they will take the Cup.

  2. gbart22 - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    Well again if the kings were to buy him out and the same goes for brad Richards with rangers neither will be unemployed very long. I know I would take either one especially mike Richards

  3. eagles512 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Big Richards fan from his time with the Flyers.

  4. flyboystransport - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    I’ve been watching the playoffs. He’s not a 2nd line center and never has been. He is a very good 3rd line center and at some point shouldve won a selke but can we please stop calling him a winner. The kings have been winning because of their drafting

    • patthehockeyfan - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      As I replied to someone else: dontbesuchapuss :(

    • petersteelewannabe - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Flyboy,

      Mike Richards has a Stanley Cup, a Memorial Cup, a World Juniors, a Calder Cup, an Olympic Gold. He is the only player to win at Championships at Jr (CHL Memorial Cup) Minors (AHL) Professional Stanley Cup (NHL) and at Olympic and World Championship Levels (IIHF and IIHF World Juniors).

      THAT is a winner…

    • robocop3999 - Jun 6, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      bro, Richards has won everything major in hockey. Memorial, Calder, world junior, Olympic, and Stanley Cup. He knows what it takes to win.

    • thefutureofoil - Jun 6, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      Actually, Richards is one of the prime reasons the Kings are on this three year run. They had a talented team with Kopitar, Doughty, etc. well before winning their first Cup. They were terrible in the playoffs. The problem was the organization had been terrible for so long that nobody knew how to win.

      Richards was the answer.

      It may be hard to remember now, the Kings went up against the top seed in Vancouver that regularly thrashed the Kings. Whereas all the Kings young players were typically wide eyed when playing stars like the Sedins, Richards wasn’t. He nailed anything that moved that first game and the Kopitars, Browns, and Doughtys of the world followed his lead. Next thing you know, the clueless talent knew how to win.

      This is the thing about Richards. He wasn’t brought in by the Kings to score [although it is a plus], he was brought in to lead and show players used to losing how to win. Say what you will about Richards in Philly, but he led that team farther than they had been in a long time or since he left.

      From a financial point of view, he probably should be bought out when looking strictly at points. For what he has done for the team in the past and the fact the Kings bottom three lines play about the same amount of time, there is a good chance they hold on to him. If not, a team like the Sharks would snap him up in a second for the same reasons the Kings traded for him.

  5. blomfeld - Jun 6, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Sutter is exactly correct about Richards and our ‘entire’ team for that matter …

    VICTORY = JOY !!! :) :) :)

  6. robocop3999 - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    I love Mike Richards, don’t care what anyone says: he is worth every penny of his contract. He’s a winner and knows what it takes to win. Has his foot speed caught with him? Probably, but nothing perfect.

  7. jggallow01 - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Total stud. Winner. LAK should keep the core group together as long as they can physically perform. They’ve certainly earned the benefit of any doubts.

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