The storyline of the first half of this Flyers' season has been mainly centered around Jeff Carter and his surge as one of the top young players in the game. But, people are still failing to realize that this is Mike Richards' team, and the team will go as far as he takes them
I'm not here to downgrade what Carter has done for this team and his career. He has developed a shot that the NHL hasn't seen since Brett Hull was in his prime and he has become an effective defensive-forward when need be.
Carter isn't a playmaker, he will tell you that and his game will provide you with the his answer. When he gets the assists its mostly when Hartnell, Lupul, or any other player on the ice with him puts in the rebound from his blistering shots.
Mike Richards is the heart and soul of this franchise and the Flyers success rests on his shoulders every night they play on that ice. If you ask any player in that locker room, they will all say the same thing. Mike is the one guy who will go to war for you on offense or defense, and is the one guy who will volunteer himself to be the guy to provide a momentum boost.
Like I said before, this is no shot against Carter or any player on this team, but Carter has said that he is thrilled to be the guy who can just go out there, shoot the frozen puck at the net, and go back on defense and provide speed and puck control.
He, in every way, declines the opportunity to be considered a leader.
Riley Cote was a guest on my show this past Sat. and I asked him about the leadership of Richards and Cote gave a good answer that reflected my opinion.
"Richie is a guy who you can trust during any part of the game. Whatever decision he makes, he makes it with the best interest of the team," Cote said.
"I can't compare him to any other guy I've seen or played with, he is his own special player who will go to war for you, and then give it you when he knows something is up. He is the first one to blame himself for his own performance and will never make someone feel singled out or uncomfortable," Cote added.
Carter is a fast rising star in this league and will only continue to get better and wiser on the ice. He will benefit from playing with the likes of the Gagne's and the Richards' because he is guy that comes to the rink everyday to keep learning.
Richards and Carter will win cups here in Philadelphia and hopefully the Flyers can find a way to keep them together for a long time. These two are players, flat-out studs in the National Hockey League. They both don't get enough recognition as players that are the top at their position, especially Richards.
In no way are my opinions based off of the all-star balloting because they are a joke even though Carts did deserve to be there. But that's what the NHL wants when it comes to fan participation.
Let's remember the game is in Montreal and Alexi Kovalev made the starting lineup, but I'm not bitter.