Wednesday conference call – full Mike Richards quotes

Although the Kings took a much deserved needed day off today, their PR staff organized a conference call with three players. Last hour we posted the full quotes from Dustin Penner. Now, here’s what Mike Richards had to share…

On how he is feeling being half-way through the playoffs:

“Obviously happy that we’re here, like you said though, it’s taken a lot to get to this point. Two grinding, grueling, tough, hard-hitting series. (It’s) nice to move on and nice to get a day to relax and rest up. Excited to see who we get to play next.”

On any specific problems with either possible match-ups:

“I think there are a lot of problems on both teams that we’d play. Either team has a lot of skill. I think if you look at both rosters, they have world class players and great goaltenders and really, a lot of different threats on the ice. It’s nice to play at home, so it’s not picking somebody, but Detroit would be nice just so we could have home-ice advantage. In the playoffs, I think everybody has seen how important it is. But, it’s a toss up right now, I’ve been watching the other series pretty closely and seeing some good hockey, and I expect to watch today’s too.”

On this season versus last year:

“It’s a different season. It’s hard to really look back right now and say there’s a couple different points like we did last year. This year, with just fewer games, it’s seems like we’ve done nothing but play hockey and no time to think, just play. There hasn’t really been one thing this year. We’ve continued to get better, we’ve added Robyn Regehr, which I think is a huge help for our hockey team and getting Matt Greene back in the playoffs. I think with those two in the line-up it adds physical presence that I don’t think we had before and it definitely makes us a much harder team to play against.”

On if this year’s roster is more stable:

“I think when you have confidence and anytime you have a team that has played together for a period of time and not have people added, like I was last year, Jeff was - I think you can find a consistency a little bit easier when you have guys that are familiar with each other, especially power play. I think our power play, even though we haven’t scored as many goals as maybe we want, but I think we’re creating some momentum and when you have players that have been together for a while that obviously helps.”

On what Jarret Stoll provides, and how him being hurt has affected the Kings:

“I think the penalty kill especially, and the faceoff, is a big part that we struggled throughout the series. I think we were under 50% for most of it. I’m not sure what we were last night, but faceoffs is a big part. When you’re having the puck, it seems like you’re controlling the game more instead of chasing it and hunting it down, it’s obviously a lot easier to play when you have the puck and making plays than you are defending and chasing it down. We miss him obviously a lot, and hopefully will get him back here at some point. It will be a big boost for us whenever we can play with a full roster. At this time of year, with the depths that we have, I think its going to benefit us.”

On this year being more of a mental struggle:

“I think it wears on both the mental aspect along with the physical aspect of hockey. It’s grinding at the best of times and then you throw another game in a week where you have no down time. You’re either getting ready for a game or just played a game and got to get right back and get re-energized, regrouped for the next game. It seems like you’re always thinking of the game, who you’re playing next, what team you’re playing, maybe even thinking about the game prior instead of just having those days where you can just unwind and not think about hockey. That also carries into the shift-to-shift basis, where you might not have it every night or every shift, where you’re physically fatigued and that’s also part of the mental aspect when you’re trying to battle through that and gear yourself up to play and even though you don’t have it deep down, you try to find it. It’s been a tough year and I think the coaching staff has done a great job of giving us rest when we need it. I think the players have done a great job of not making an excuses or using any excuses and really just finding it and playing with what you got.”

On how he felt when he woke up this morning:

“I layed in bed for probably an hour and a half, two hours, just to unwind. Days like today, where you’re not sure who you’re going to play, so you’re not quite yet getting ready for the next series. You know, you don’t have time to think about hockey, it’s nice just to relax and take your mind off it for a bit and give your brain a little bit of a rest.”

On the possibility of maybe having to play back-to-back games this weekend and if he’s ever had to do that in the playoffs:

“Yeah, I believe a couple times. I wanna say we played Game 6 and Game 7 back-to-back a number of years ago. But, it comes down to what I just talked about, being mentally ready for it. You might be a little bit exhausted, but it’s mental, getting down and finding it. Trying to get your legs and be ready for it because you know it’s obviously going to be a test.  Playoff hockey, any playoff game is a grind. So, to carry that over two games, two-day stretch, is going to be pretty important for us to stay with it, stay focused and manage our rest on these days that we do have off.”

On the challenge of getting production out of left wingers on his line:

“I’m not really sure.  I think the guys that have been put in the situation have done a good job, to be honest with you. I think it’s a situation where if you’re playing on the left side of a left-handed centerman, it’s harder to get production because the centerman’s always facing the right side, and it’s an easier pass if you’re making it on your forehand than say your backhand. So, I think the right winger is going to get more touches than the left side. But, I think the guys that have played with us, it’s hard to step into a line that has really played together for a long time. I enjoy playing with Pens (Dustin Penner), I liked playing with Kinger (Dwight King) for a little bit. We’ve played with a lot of different guys throughout the years and I think they’ve done a good job. Obviously, as time goes on we [referring to he and Jeff Carter] are going to get more confidence and we definitely have some chemistry with Dustin over there.”

On if there is a type of player that would fit best on his line with Jeff Carter:

“I’m not really sure. Like I said, we have some chemistry with Dustin. We’ve played together for a bit now and (he’s) probably the guy that I’ve played with the most with on the left-hand side. So, I think that chemistry is pretty good with him and I, and Jeff as well. We’ve had some success together, we know each other’s games and at this time of year, it’s obviously easier when you can read a player and it’s a lot easier than having different guys in the mix.”

On what he thinks of people saying that low scoring series are boring:

“I don’t think those people have watched the series. They might be low scoring, but they’re definitely high-hitting and there’s some great goaltending  which had a great part of that. I think Niemi (Antti Niemi) was great and Quickie (Jonathan Quick) obviously made a lot of big saves throughout the series, too. So for people saying that, I don’t think they paid too much attention to the series. Especially when, our last one too, but the St. Louis series was as hard-hitting of a series as I’ve ever been apart of.”

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