When Mike Richards continually says that there is so much leadership in the Flyers locker room that him being a captain doesn't change much. He is right to an extent. The Flyers have probably the best leadership core in the National Hockey League with guys like Kimmo Timonen, Simon Gagne, and Daniel Briere. Two out of those three were former captains,Briere with the Sabres and Timonen with the Predators. The Flyers this year come into this season with players who can lead and lead very well. The great part of this team is they don't have any disrupting egos. The Flyers made sure this season players like Steve Downie would be a much more mature and handled player.
Downie, who was in the doghouse regularly last season, took his behavior from last season into this past off-season while losing close to twenty pounds to become a quicker more durable player this season. Downie who might have a hard time making the team with players like Giroux pushing to get a spot and Downie trying to reinvent himself might take more time than the coaching staff wants.
With Simon Gagne probably making his return this Sat. The Flyers will look for his veteran leadership all season and hopefully a healthy one. The important part of the leadership role that Gagne brings is that he has been in Philadelphia longer than any other starter on the roster. Gagne knows the city and knows our fan base. He can guide players like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards and teach them how to get through their career playing in Philadelphia.
Mike Richards was the correct choice for captain. He has he ability, the knowledge and the grit. The Flyers locked him up for a dozen years giving Richards, 23, the longevity. Is Richards the Bobby Clarke remake that Flyers fans all hope for? Only time will tell. But with players like Simon Gagne, Kimmo Timonen, and Danny Briere he has unlimited resources to learn constantly and grow. The sky is the limit for this team, there is no room for slacking off with this group, they know what they want and how to get it. Hockey people around the league and fan critics questioned Martin Biron's talent and ability to be a number one for an NHL club. He proved it last season and then some in the playoffs, now the pressure is on him to do it better than last season and that's what he wants.