On July 27th, the Los Angeles Kings held a Press Conference for newly acquired center Mike Richards. The news conference streamed live online, and is now readily available for viewing online at LAKings.com, as is the Media Q&A with Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
After the Press conference, Lombardi presented Richards with his # 10 Kings jersey. Kings forward Jarret Stoll came out and was on hand to welcome his new teammate, and then the former Philadelphia Flyers captain was made available for individual Q & A with the various media outlets in attendance.
Andrew Knoll of The Hockey Writers, and myself collaborated on this interview for INSIDE SPORTS and joltleft.com. Video will soon be available online.
Regarding having previously worked with Los Angeles Kings’ Asst coach John Stevens – Yeah, first with the Phantoms, and then he came up as an asst coach with the Flyers, and then actually the next year took over as the head coach, so obviously familiar with him. Murph was there for my first, I think 4 years too, so two guys that I’m very familiar with, two guys that I’ve had success with in the past, so I’m looking forward to coming in, it’s gonna make it easier on the transition, so I don’t have to learn a new system, and I know what their expectations are.
What made you & Simon Gagne so dangerous on the PK (penalty kill) ? –
We were allowed to take risks. Not risks that were going to put your team in different situations were it might not work out for us, but risks were we can go the other way if we have the opportunity too, and when you have hat free range to read the play and go the other way and try for offense, I think you kinda keep their power play on their heels and be aware of what’s going on.
Regarding the length of the Philly deal, and thinking he was going to retire as a Flyer –
Well, I did. We were being told we were going to be a Flyer for life, Jeff and I both, I think that was something that I think frustrated us the most was that we were promised to be there forever, and that’s why we signed the deal. We both love the city of Philadelphia, we both love the organization, but it happened, it’s something that obviously was a shock to us and we were dissappointed right off the bat, but now we’re excited and looking forward to new things.
Jeff (Carter) had just signed his deal, and a big extension, what’s he communicated to you since the day you were both traded –
Like I said before, We were dissappointed when they both happened. We expected to play our whole careers together, I’ve know him since we were 16, probably best friends since we were 18, we lived together, probably spent every day together for a couple years, so it’s gonna be a different adjustment, obviously we’re dissappointed, but both of us I think right now are more excited to start this and get the hockey season going.
I know it’s a pretty intense media out there in Philadelphia, that seemed to be kind of a go-to thing out there was that any time there was any kind of an issue in the past couple seasons that there was some kind of a rift between you and Chris Pronger. Can you kind of go into that, and what kind of relationship you have with him and some of the guys who remain with the Flyers ?
Yeah, I don’t understand where that was coming from. I thought Chris & I had a great relationship, we talked on a regular basis, we threw ideas of of each other, we were in on a lot of discussions because we were both Asst Captain & Captain, I’m not even sure, I don’t know even that even got started, let alone blown out of proportion, so it’s frustrating I think, more so that you’re being more remembered for things you did off the ice than what you did on the ice.
You have a little bit of a connection here, Lappy (Ian Laperriere)used to play in L.A., Justin Williams played in Philly. What have those guys told you about playing in L.A. now that you’ve arrived ?
Yeah Everything that I’ve heard about L.A. , Sean O’Donnell too, has been unbelievable – The organization treats you well, the city’s awesome, it’s a great place to play and I’ve never heard one bad thing said about it, so I’m looking forward to starting and seeing how everything is.
Of course, a lot of familiar faces from the OHL, you talked a little bit about Corey Perry when he was with London, you were with Kitchener – You looking forward to six meetings a year ?
(laughs) It’ll be alright. Like I said before, everyone’s a competitive player on the ice, sometimes friendships get put aside when you’re that competitive, but over the past couple of years, I’ve grown close with Corey, we won an Olympic Gold together, so that brought us close and you still have that passion to win, and I think everybody as a hockey player ad as an athlete has that competitive nature where you want yo win every game so it’s gonna be a little bit different, familiarizing yourself with the Western Conference a little bit and playing against teams you are not used to playing against, Like I said before, about almost feeling like a rookie again and learning whole new players on your team and whole new players on the other teams too.
How about those Kitchener kids ? Jeff Skinner wins rookie of the year, Gabriel Landeskog may be an early favorite out of this year’s draft, can you took about their success just a bit ?
Well Kitchener’s got a great organization, they run things almost like a pro organization. The expectations are so high there, and I think that’s what we have here, the expectations are high, and I think that when you have that pressure on you as a team, you need a tight knit group to kinda keep them together, and I think that’s what they have here.