Mike Richards moves from Philly teacher to LA student

Richards at Kings camp (photo: M. Zampelli)

In some news that went a little under the radar this summer, the Kings traded away Wayne Simmonds and two other assets for former Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards.

A few days later, his former left wing, Simon Gagne, signed a free agent contract to join him in Los Angeles.

After spending the summer fishing and answering questions about his time on the East Coast, things started to return to a little bit of normalcy for the 26-year old forward when camp opened last week.

“Testing days are always the tough part of camp,” Richards began. “You just want to get back on the ice and play some hockey. It went well though, that’s why you work out in the off-season – to prove that you’ve come to camp in shape.”

In the days that have followed, Richards has started to some similarities to previous camps in Philadelphia – with one notable exception.

“It’s pretty similar – a lot of ice-time, a lot of teaching. I think with the new players we have here, or anytime new players join any team, you want to come out of training camp knowing what to expect and knowing what you need to do when you hit the (regular season),” Richards explained.

“For me, this is just different because I’m the one learning it, instead of trying to help other people do it.”

Part of that adjustment process took a huge step forward when he played his first pre-season game on Wednesday night.

“Being around the guys and getting the system helps. But, (the game vs. Phoenix) was the biggest step,” said the Kings second line center. “Just playing a game and being in the Staples Center, getting used to the surroundings a bit more. It’s starting to set in more as time goes.”

Aiding in his rising comfort level are his linemates, Gagne and Dustin Brown.

“It reminds me of a couple years ago when Simon and I had a lot of success, and then (later) with Mike Knuble in Philadelphia,” recalled Richards. “It has a lot of the same characteristics – Brownie’s probably a little bit more physical and a little faster. But, he’s still similar to what Knube’s had – being in front of the net, a hard worker and finishing his checks. So, I think it has a lot of potential. Obviously, we still have to learn to play with each other a little bit more. That’s why we play exhibition games and we still have a couple weeks before it really has to click.”

Is it getting incrementally better each day?

“I think so. Anytime you spend more time on the ice with each other, it’s going to benefit you as a line. Simon and I are both learning stuff. So, it’s good to have somebody who’s been here a long time and knows what to do to walk us through things if we have questions.”

Moving from teacher to student, he seems to be doing just fine so far.

Recent Articles

Kings Of the Podcast: Ep. Q for Quarantine – With Mike Stothers

There have simply been too many news stories of late. We only had one choice. It’s time for the return, so here you go – Kings of the Podcast, Quarantine Edition.
And we even have a special guest… Mike Stothers.
Listen to the show for free using the audio player below or check us out on all […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings: The Top Three Players

Finally, we’re ready to reveal the No. 1 player on our annual LA Kings Prospect Rankings.
As noted in the previous article from this series, our original intention was to publish the entire Top 15 before the NHL Trade Deadline in February. Things happen. However, the final rankings were completed in January and have been […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings: Players No.4-6

The wait is over, it’s time to pick up where we left off with our annual LA Kings Prospect Rankings.
As you’ll see below, this is an abbreviated version of what you’d normally get in our scouting reports. However, this is a weird time we’re living in and it seems everything is different these days. […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Goalie Depth Chart

Before we get started here, some context… While normally our Midseason Prospect Rankings come out shortly after the World Junior Championships, we held off in anticipation of any deals the Kings may make prior to the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.