Mike Richards on LA Kings first game – ‘hatred’ for Rangers, ready to fight Brandon Dubinsky again

Richards v Dubinsky (Photo by Bob Fina)

Drafted 24th overall by Philadelphia in 2003, Canadian Mike Richards played two more years of junior hockey before making his NHL debut for the Flyers.

The night was October 5, 2005 and they were playing the New York Rangers.

In the second period of that game, Richards scored what was described as a ‘hard-fought goal’ – taking an outlet pass from Eric Desjardins, outmuscling defenseman Fedor Tyutin and lifting a shot over Kevin Weekes‘ left shoulder – to put the Flyers up 3-1.

It was his first NHL goal and it came against the team he went on to play 36 more times over the next six seasons.

He amassed 11 more goals against those Rangers – his second highest total against any team in the league.  And his 64 penalty minutes vs. Broadway’s Blueshirts are 20 more than he’s incurred against any other NHL club.

Now that he’s a member of the Los Angeles Kings, a Western Conference team, that’s all behind him, right?  Not so fast.

Life will come full circle on Friday, October 7th – when he makes his official debut as a member of the Kings in game one of the 2011-12 NHL season.

Their opponent? Yes, the New York Rangers.

He wasted no time jumping in with both feet when I asked him about the match-up earlier today – “Well, I didn’t think I was going to have to fight (Brandon) Dubinsky anymore. I’ve already fought him five times. I can’t get rid of this guy,” Richards said.

“It’s going to be interesting. We had a great rivalry over the past couple of years, a ton of great games against them. Like I said before, about LA and New York, there’s always a buzz when you play the Rangers…whenever you play them it just sticks with you and there’s a hatred there because guys compete so hard against each other. It’s going to be a good start. It’s not going to be hard to kinda get up for it. I know everybody on that team and how they play. So, I think it’s going to make it easier.”

Is it October yet?

Hockey already sounds so good.

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