Having scored five goals in his first six games, Philadelphia Flyers forward Mike Richards was off to the hottest start of his short NHL career. However, over the next 12 games, Richards would score just three times, leaving some Flyers fans wanting more.
To be fair, those that are scoffing at Richards’ efforts, are not paying close enough attention. The fact is, Richards is having one heck of a season for the Orange and Black, and from all accounts, looks to be on course for a career year.
Through 18 games, Richards has scored nine goals, has 18 points, and has a plus/minus rating of plus three. His 61 shots and 51.5 face off percentage wins ranks him second amongst all Flyers and, like many elite players, he makes everyone around him better.
Stats are nice, but in order to get a true sense of what Richards brings to the rink every night, you need to look at all the intangibles. Leadership, toughness, grit, determination, and a passion for being a member of the Flyers, are just a few of the attributes that help Richards stand out as an elite NHL player.
Like many of his Flyers’ teammates, Richards has a purpose with the club. Jeff Carter scores goals, James Van Riemsdyk brings energy, Chris Pronger brings leadership and intimidation, and Ray Emery keeps the opposition at bay with his timely saves. Richards brings it all.
Arguably the best two-way forward in the game, Richards brings an attitude that has not been seen since the days of Bobby Clarke.
Richards has no problem getting in an opponents grill and, as witnessed by Florida Panthers forward David Booth, he will not hesitate to take you out.
Richards’ game is built in the mold of an “old school” hockey player, those who played with tremendous pride for their teammates, fans, and most of all, for the jersey on the front of their chests. No question about it, Richards bleeds Orange and Black and he would go through a wall to prove his loyalty.
Without a doubt, Richards will be on Team Canada’s roster when the 2010 Olympic’s roll around and he will likely be given the challenge of checking the oppositions most lethal NHL offensive lines.
Russia’s Alex Ovechkin, USA’s Paul Stastny, Sweden’s Henrik Sedin, Slovenian Anze Kopitar, Czech Vinny Prospal, Finland’s Mikko Koivu, and others will get a steady diet of Mike Richards in Vancouver, something none of them is looking forward to.
So to anyone out that is daring enough to say, “Richards isn’t getting it done in Philly”..."y'all need to check yourself", ‘cause by all accounts, Richards is getting it done and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, thank you very much!
Until next time,