Mike Richards: Good or Evil?

It’s been nearly a week since Mike Richards was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2rd round pick in 2012 and we here at The Royal Half still don’t know what to think. Myself and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy can’t believe that Dean Lombardi pulled off the deal… Indiana Matt is still shocked from learning that there is an “Eastern Conference”… Jersey Brian is on JeterWatch and could care less about hockey in the summer… and Twitter Doug had no idea Kramer played hockey. But over the last week I’ve learned there are 2 distinct camps when it comes to Mike Richards… some say what an amazing player he is and how lucky I am to have my favorite long-suffering hockey team grab him in the prime of his career… and others say that Mike Richards is nothing more than an over-rated, sour-puss. So I decided to do what any great investigative journalist would do… I asked 4 of my Hockey Blog Buddies™ to do the work for me.

Presenting the 1st Ever Royal Half King Richards Investigative Report!!!

Click here to see what The Pensblog, Days of Y’orr, Flyers Goal Scored By and PuckinVibes think of Mike Richards being a Los Angeles King!!!

First up in the Pro-Richards corner is Marcus Morris, Pucktackular from PuckinVibes who has the rare distinction of being a Flyers fan first… and a Kings fan second. 

Mike Richards oozes a winning mentality that all 30 teams in the NHL covet. In Kitchener, he was the captain of a Memorial Cup winning squad. When the Flyers drafted him in 2003, the organization had visions of him being the next Bobby Clarke, a rough and tumble, yet offensively skilled center, who had leadership in his blood. On December 13, 2007 (which ironically enough was the first NHL game that I got to attend), the Flyers signed the future captain to a lengthy, 12 year extension. Beginning in the 2008-09 season, the Flyers named the 5’11 center, as their newest captain. Philadelphia Flyers fans revered Mike Richards to another level. He was the type of player where even if he made the most blatant, obvious mistakes, fans gave him that free pass because as everyone knows, Philly is a hard-nosed city that demands hustle and for Mike Richards, he brought it to the rink on a nightly basis. 

The Los Angeles Kings haven’t had this much hope since the Gretzky days. The days of signing retreads like Dan Cloutier, Jason LaBarbera, Ladislav Nagy, Roman Cechmanek and the whole nine yards, is over. Dean Lombardi means business and if it meant taking a step back to get two steps forward, that was what he was going to do, no exceptions to the fact. The trade of Mike Richards is the biggest that the Purple and Black have orchestrated since Wayne Gretzky. This is how big this trade is to the Los Angeles Kings. Mike Richards is only 26 years old and he is entering the prime of his career. Heck, you can argue that he’s not even at the prime of his career, just yet. He is the definition of a five tool player. He can score, dish it out, play defense, hit and drop the gloves if needed. The Kings could possibly be entering the beginning of the glory days, with two elite centers in Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards, along with two shining stars on defense in Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, with a strong goaltender in Jonathan Quick. For Mike Richards, he will be a seamless transition. The weight will be lifted off of his shoulders after being in a market in which the media in Philly wasn’t necessarily cuddly with him. While the Flyers acquired a future superstar in Brayden Schenn, short term, the Flyers will dearly regret this trade. This is how impactful Mike Richards is. Have fun, Kings fans.

Very positive thoughts in regards to Mike Richards. But not so fast says Stanley Cup Winning Blogger™ Jon from the great Days of Y’orr blog. 

When we make fun of Mike Richards, Flyers fans (used to) try to tell us we’re just mad about the hit Richards dished out on Krejci in the 2010 playoffs. First, we hated Mike Richards long before that. Second, that was probably one of the few clean hits Richards has ever dished out. Doesn’t change the fact that Richards is a total douchebag.

You know what was wrong with that hit though? It was unnecessary for his team. He was being selfish. Richards ignored the puck, went for the man and nailed Krejci. Then what happened? The Bruins scored. Richards makes these kind of mistakes all the time. Sure the Flyers won. But this is just one of many times he’s done things like this and more often than not his team ends up on the losing end because of it. Richards is an incredibly selfish player.

The media, especially douchebags like Pierre McGuire, try to talk Richards up constantly. They talk about how he is a great captain, how clutch he is, how he could play in any era, etc. They could not be more wrong.

Take a look at Richards relationship with the media. He is often standoffish, rude. We don’t have a problem with that necessarily. If we were hockey players we’d hate hearing the same stupid questions day after day too. But Richards REFUSES to ever answer for the misdeeds and mistakes of not only his team but himself. He always blames someone else. The refs, his teammates, the media, etc. Nothing is ever Mike Richards fault. Some captain. Good thing the Kings already have a respectable captain in Dustin Brown.

If Richards is such a great captain and is so clutch, why are there so many rumors about him being a locker room cancer? Why are there so many rumors about Richards being more interested in partying than winning? Rumors are just that. Rumors. But generally where there’s smoke there’s fire. He spent most of the regular season and playoffs being a heartless, mopey idiot who played like he couldn’t care less about winning yet he has been known to call out other players for not showing enough drive or heart. What a joke.

Stupid whores. And those girls look awful too.

And if Richards is so clutch, where are all his rings? His championships? He wilted in the Finals against the Blackhawks and then refused to answer for it. Classic coward. He runs away at the slightest bit of trouble or criticism and then explodes into a fit of whiny emo complaining every time any one dares question him. Any time a writer or blogger talks about how shitty this guy is he cries and cries instead of, you know, trying to prove people wrong with his play.

He is the same on the ice. He’ll hit players from behind, dish out cheap shots, etc but then refuse to answer for it. He’ll crosscheck someone in the head, slash their wrists or ankles and then run and hide behind the refs, then cry about it after the game. He would fit in great with the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks were basically an entire team full of guys with a Mike Richards attitude and that is why they didn’t win.

Richards always talks about respect in hockey and how other players are violating that sense of respect which is hilarious coming from Richards. Richards is a known cheap shot artist, often needlessly targeting the head of other players then screaming for justice when an opposing player tries to do the same to him or his teammates.

Richards is a whiny, bitching, cowardly player. We just don’t respect players like that. When things are going well for his team he’s a team player. When things are rough, he disappears. He runs. He hides.

Who knows. Maybe without the pressure of the “C” he’ll be different in L.A. But for a guy is supposed to have the heart of a lion, there is an empty void in his chest where his heart should be. Mike Richards only cares about Mike Richards. His attitude isn’t the kind of thing that is going to influence a young Kings roster in a positive way unless he drastically changes. We used to like the Kings. We hope they don’t start playing like Mike Richards now.

Wow… a scathing report on Mike Richards from Days of Y’orr who have battled against Richards in consecutive playoff years. But what does one of the finest Philadelphia Flyers blogs out there, Flyers Goal Scored By, think about losing its Captain to the bright lights of Hollywood?

Simply put, Flyers West is going to adore Mike Richards.  The Kings just got Philadelphia’s hockey heart and guts.  In the hockey world we live in, where free agency is, dare I say, King, we had our untouchable guy.  Our next Bobby Clarke, signed long term and given the Captaincy. He already gave us tons of on ice memories and willed us into the Cup Finals not even two years ago.  He was going to be the next, and maybe last jersey the Flyers ever retire.  And now he’s yours.  His tenacity, leadership, penalty killing, timely checking, timely scoring, timely time telling….all yours.  Mike Richards, above all others, was the symbol of a new generation for Philadelphia Flyers fans. A young leader destined to lead us…and now you, to a Cup.

For those of you still not sure about whether you’re going to fall in love with this guy, check yourself, before you wreck yourself.  In this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, when the Flyers were being manhandled by the Bruins, Game 4 was on Boston’s ice.  With 30 seconds to go, the Flyers were down 4-1, and they pulled the goalie in some desperate show of determination.  Thirty freaking’ seconds left in the season, a season of frustration, and here comes Shawn Thornton, motoring into the Flyers zone trying to make it 5-1.  Mike Richards, shoulder’s torn and all, dives head first into Thornton’s shot to block it.  Nobody else would have done that.  And sure, the Bruins scored a few passes later, but that was the last play I will ever see Mike Richards make as a member of the Flyers, and I am proud that he went out of the Orange and Black giving it everything he had.

Sure, maybe the Flyers fans are a little biased towards the great play of their captain but Derek from The Pensblog is also from Pennsylvania and he has nothing but good things to say about Mike Richards, right? Right? RIGHT?!?

You would think that as a Penguins fans we could come with unlimited reasons why LA kings fans should hate Mike Richards.

Yes, Mike Richards is a douche, he is a baby, and he slashes more than a serial killer.

But you have to remember he who he played for, and who he tried to appease.

The Flyers.

Their organization and their fans are like a cult that should have drank Kool Aid or put on the Nikes a long time ago.

Mike Richards wasn’t all that bad once. But when he was given the C in Philly, he had to live up to this bizarre standard. He was labeled the next Bobby Clarke. Pretty sure Bobby Clarke’s kids don’t want to be named the next Bobby Clarke.

Bottom line, Mike Richards changed himself into that form of player. And he sucked at it. Not so much on the ice, but off it. And when the on-ice struggles started, the off-ice issues came to a head.

Now, he walks into a situation where he doesn’t have to be the captain, and he doesn’t have the expectations that comes with it.

The last two seasons, by all accounts, Richards has been in meltdown mode. He handled the media the media so bad Anthony Weiner vomited in laughter.

But despite all of this if we were gambling men, and we are. We’re saying Richards makes some noise in LA, and in a good way.

Back in 2008-09 when A.O., Crosby, and Malkin were closing out the season on big time scoring streaks, guess who nearly closed out the season hotter? Mike Richards. We did a stats comparison a few years ago. We found that from late Feburary to April Richards put up something like 35 points to close out the year. He was right on par with the big boys in the NHL.

Wayne Simmonds probably couldn’t even skate back then.

So really in closing, you may hate Mike Richards now. But you’ll start to love him soon. If not, you’ll have these Photoshops close by:

Well, there you have it. Mike Richards broken down by the people who know him best… the fans who love him and the fans who hate him. But really, what does it all matter? Now that Mike Richards is a Los Angeles King… he’ll completely forget the game of hockey and go scoreless through the month of December. The Kings better get some free agent help today… and fast. 

Whoa… whoa… easy there Mikey. You might be 5.75 million a year…
but that other guy is some precious cargo.

Don’t forget, our King Richards t-shirts are for sale in The Royal Half Gift Shoppe

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.