On my way home from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers game yesterday, one of my friends sent me a tweet related to Flyers captain Mike Richards’ postgame interview. He said it was good for a laugh and that I should check it out.
I did when I got home, and I was disgusted with what Richards was saying. It’s not just because I’m a Penguins fan, but it was the way the team captain was acting after a loss to a rival.
Among some of Richards’ gems were:
“If Sidney Crosby fights Daniel Carcillo, maybe I’ll fight (Matt Cooke).”
“It’s tough when you play Pittsburgh. They’re going to be falling down easy.”
“I think I’ve given you enough quotes there.”
The first thing that came to my mind was, “Wow…what a sore loser Richards is.”
Richards also complained that the Penguins got a lot of power-play time. Pittsburgh had eight power plays in the game, including two five-on-three advantages. He said it was easy for the Penguins to capitalize when they got as many power plays as they did.
However, a quick look at the game summary shows the Flyers had five power-play chances last night, including one four-on-three advantage. Therefore, they also had their chances to capitalize on the power play, but could not, except for their lone goal in the first period.
Why didn’t Richards have an explanation for that? Why did he just blame the Penguins for getting chances and being able to capitalize? What does he think about his team not doing more with the chances they were given?
If he did have an explanation, we'll never know. When a reporter asked him if he was satisfied with the chances the Flyers got, that's when he decided he was done talking to the press.
Perhaps he realizes that had the Flyers not started taking foolish penalties, they could have had a better chance in the game.
Richards also complained about Penguins tough guy Matt Cooke not wanting to fight him, despite the fact that he chased Cooke around the ice.
In my mind, Cooke can definitely be a foolish player. It showed the other night against the New York Islanders when he took three goaltender interference penalties.
But I don’t think Cooke is so foolish that he would fight Richards when the Penguins had a substantial lead. It would give the Flyers momentum, and that is the last thing the Penguins wanted to give them.
Richards needs to think about this: What if the score of the game were reversed and Cooke came to him looking for trouble? I don’t think Richards would drop the gloves. Judging from his attitude, he would probably go running towards the bench.
By the way, I’m curious as to why Crosby would fight Daniel Carcillo. Carcillo is not likely to fight a player of Crosby’s caliber. If Richards wanted to save some face, he could have suggested that Cooke or Eric Godard fight Carcillo.
I’m not sure why he’s worried about that anyway, seeing as Carcillo spent last night’s game in the upper reaches of Wells Fargo Center.
Finally, what kind of captain has a hissy fit in front of the media and tells them he has given them enough quotes before walking away?
Part of Richards’ job as captain is to go before the media and give them the material they need. If they have more questions for him, he has to answer them, whether he feels like it or not. From the video I saw, none of the reporters were out of line in their questioning, so that gives Richards no right to decide his obligation is finished.
If Richards cannot handle this part of being a leader, perhaps he should be stripped of the captaincy. Let it go to a player who can handle the obligations or a player who will actually be accountable for his team’s problems.
One player I would nominate is forward Jeff Carter. Carter happens to be one of the few Flyers players I like and respect, and his quote to the Philadelphia Inquirer after tonight’s game further solidified my positive opinion of him.
He starts by talking about a careless penalty he took, then acknowledges how it affected the Flyers.
“I didn’t mean to come around and get Goligoski in the face. He was battling and I was obviously careless with my stick. That’s the kind of turning point of the game. We’ve got to be careful with our penalties. They really shot us in the foot tonight.”
Carter then discussed the kind of impact that Crosby had on the game. Crosby was the first star of the night with two goals and an assist.
“He’s the best player in the game,” Carter told the Inquirer. “I thought as a whole, we did a pretty good job the first two periods, and then we started taking penalties and if you give him open ice, he’s going to make plays.”
That’s exactly how Richards should have acted last night. No sour grapes, no blaming everyone else for the Flyers’ problems, just acknowledging what went wrong.
He can learn a thing or two from Carter.