Philadelphia Flyers' Mike Richards: C or S on the Chest?

Brad MorrellContributor IMay 6, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 25:  Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs  at the Wachovia Center on April 25, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Flyers 5-3 to win the series 4 games to 2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Mike Richards, King of the Shorty, comes up a bit short this year. 

Don’t get me wrong!  Richards is nothing but spectacular on the ice.  Boasting 30 goals and 50 assists while keeping reigns on this rambunctious team is not an easy task. 

The Flyers organization asked a lot of Richards, and for the most part, he delivered. 

There is lots of talk about the Flyers’ defense and goalie situations, but we all fail to remember the disaster the Flyers had two years ago. Holmgren has changed the team around so that any true Flyers fan should be excited for the next few years to come. 

The problem with this year is that you have a new captain trying to be a leader of a team that had a few discipline problems on the ice. 

Captain is not just a title we give for someone who goes to clear up situations with the refs. A captain is the liaison between the team and the coach or general manager. 

Perhaps Richards was a bit intimidated in his position. This is Richards' first year in this role, and he is leading guys who are much older and more experienced on the ice. This would be intimidating to anyone’s first year in this role.

I think the 2009-10 season is where you will see more leadership from Richards. Despite all of the offseason hype of who is going to be in net, who is leaving Philly, and all of the injury repairs, I think next year Richards will bring great things to Philadelphia. You will see more confidence from him to lead this team. 

Richards has had success in the Juniors and has tasted glory from the Calder Cup, but the best is yet to come. Next year Richards will be bigger and better in a leadership role. 

Nobody knows what the Flyers team will look like next year, but I guarantee we will all see a different, more confident leader in Mike Richards in the coming year.  Richards will be the type of leader who could easily bring the Cup back to Philly.