Mike Richards – was a believer, now just heartbroken


Quotes from Mike Richards on Sunday’s end-of-season conference call…

On where this playoff run ranks in difficulty compared to previous runs:

“I’m not sure. It’s a tough question right now, haven’t had much time to look back on it. I know physically it’s been one of the most grueling, just with the first series how physical it was and the second series going seven games. It’s probably up there because this one and a couple years ago when we went to the finals with Philly, too. We had a pretty tough series, one with Boston, seven games. But I think this one was the most physically draining.”

On losing in the Western Conference Final this year:

“Well it’s always tough when you end the year in a losing way. There’s always that sour taste in your mouth. I thought we played well last night. And I still thought going into yesterday’s game, down 3-1, we still believed we could come back and win. So, really, until that final buzzer, the final goal last night, everyone still believed that we could win the series and move on and contend for the Stanley Cup again. So, I think that’s the most frustrating, devastating part of it, is you still have that belief. Sometimes you go into a series not knowing or more or less hoping, but I really thought that everybody believed that we could win. Obviously we came up short. But, I think that’s the most heartbreaking thing is when you believe you can, and maybe even deserve to win last night, and then not getting the opportunity to. You miss some chances and getting the loss was the most heartbreaking part of it.”

On what Chicago did that St.Louis and San Jose didn’t:

“I’m not really sure. It’s pretty quick to analyze a playoff series or a playoff run the day after. I thought they were opportunistic on their chances. I think in Game 4, and especially last night, they came out to a pretty good start. In between first and second period we discussed trying to chip away at it. But, they’re an opportunistic team. They have guys with a lot of skill and obviously know where the net is too. When you play that with the gritty strategy that they play, and speed and tempo, it’s tough to play against. But, I thought they were very opportunistic on their chances. I don’t think we gave them a whole lot, but we did they were definitely grade-A chances.”

On watching part of the Western Conference Final from the press box:

“It was frustrating to watch. It’s something I don’t want to have to do again. But, you sit there and wish you could do something. It’s obviously a lot better playing, you can control a lot more than when you’re sitting there watching, especially in Game 4 when I thought (Chicago) was playing well. Like I said, they scored on their chances that they got. It is frustrating just sitting there, especially with a concussion because you never know – with the way you feel. You think you feel good. Then, I went out and tried to skate and you don’t feel well. I think that’s the most frustrating part of it. Because you think you can play and then you start doing activities and realize you’re not only putting the team at risk, but you’re putting yourself at risk too. So, what’s frustrating the most is that you can’t do anything about it to help the team.”

On any differences in how Darryl Sutter coached the team this post-season compared to last year:

“I think last post-season he did a good job, but I don’t know how much he needed to do with the lines because it seemed like everything was going in the right direction. We didn’t have those struggles to find goals on the road. It always seemed like it was there. I think with this year, especially on the road, when you’re not scoring goals you’re always looking for different sparks and different chemistry and line combinations to try to get those goals, especially when you’re down, you’re looking for answers. So, this post-season was probably a lot different and stressful for him, to try and find something that worked for everybody. Last year I think for the most part, and he might even tell you, it was probably easy from a line combination standpoint because we were having success. So, he didn’t really have to do too much. This year he was just looking for answers, I feel.”

On any differences in his two years in Los Angeles:

“I think you feel more comfortable your second year, especially after you win a Championship. And more-so after the first couple months you start feeling more comfortable and confident to say things in the dressing room. Maybe your first season you’re a little bit tentative to step up in different ways. I think this year, with pretty much the same group as we had last year, I think everybody stepped up in different ways when things needed to be said. I just think everybody is more comfortable with each other. So, you can say something to somebody and you don’t have to worry about different things being thought about from that player. That respect that everybody has for each other and the confidence, and being comfortable with each other, I think that goes a long way on the ice and improving as a hockey team.”

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Additional notes and quotes from the 2013 Western Conference Final can be found at the links below.

RELATED CONTENT:

Post-Game 5 – Darryl Sutter comments

Post-Game 5: Doughty – ‘They just played better than us’

Post-Game 5: Williams – ‘Sometimes you have to lose to remember…’

Post-Game 5: Jarret Stoll – ‘We wanted to keep playing’

Sunday media call – comments from Jonathan Quick

Sunday media call – Anze Kopitar says he’s not injured

Sunday media call – part one of comments from Dean Lombardi

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Comments

  1. John Coktostone says:

    Be proud of what you did Richie. I was a big Simmonds fan and he went out in the trade that brought you to LA. Then, the Kings moved another fave, Jack Johnson, for Carter, and you guys won it all. Then, you follow it up with a Conference Final appearance and a valiant effort and, in your case, you played through injury. You guys did great!

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