Mike Richards ‘Extremely Shocked’ To Be Traded From Flyers, Regrets Not Getting Hand Surgery, Looking Forward To ‘Fresh Start’ In L.A.

June 27, 2011 – 5:30 am by Steven Cuce

Mike Richards is now the former Philadelphia Flyers captain and newest member of the Los Angeles Kings. The Flyers traded away two of their leaders, shipping center, Jeff Carter, to Columbus, and Mike Richards to Los Angeles. The irony behind both moves for the Flyers was that Carter just signed an 11-year extension less than eight months ago and Richards still has nine years left on his current deal. Richard’s time was up in Philadelphia once the Flyers inked former Coyotes goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, to a nine-year deal worth $51 million dollars, making Bryzgalov among the top ten goalies in terms of average salary.

Philadelphia has revamped their roster after a disappointing postseason run last season, losing to the Boston Bruins in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. It was no secret that Flyers had some truly inconsistent play at the goaltender position causing head coach Peter Laviolette to shuffle his goalie lineup constantly throughout the playoffs. The Flyers looked to be on the precipice of being a Stanley Cup Champion over the last two seasons and they now feel Ilya Bryzgalov gives the organization a long-term answer in goal. The real question here is: are the Flyers moving in the right direction after trading two of the teams biggest names in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter?

Mike Richards joined Into the Night with Tony Bruno to discuss being shocked when he heard the Philadelphia Flyers traded Jeff Carter and himself to other teams, once Ilya Bryzgalov was signed knowing that someone was going to be traded off the Flyers due to salary caps requirements, his initial reaction to being traded to the Los Angeles Kings, sensing that Flyers fans were down on Jeff Carter and himself and the Philadelphia Flyers team taking a step in the wrong direction after trading Jeff Carter and himself.

Were you shocked when you found out the Flyers were trading either you or Jeff Carter?

“There were a lot of rumors about Jeff getting traded, which we thought were false because we got some news from our GM that he wasn’t going to trade him and I heard nothing about myself, so I was extremely shocked not only that I was traded, but Jeff was traded too.”

You know about the Ilya Bryzgalov situation? The Flyers picked him up at goalie, but they had to sign him. When you heard that you knew someone had to go because they had to remove salary off the books? Right?

“I did know that. Yeah. I wasn’t expecting Ilya [Bryzgalov] to be picked up to tell you the truth. At the end of the year I thought going into the summer we were going to wait and see how Sergei Bobrovsky was doing and I thought he was a great goaltender, Bobrovsky, and it’s going to be tough for him [Ilya Bryzgalov] to blossom as the goaltender I think he can be, but at the same time the Flyers wanted a goaltender and I guess they got their man.”

What was your reaction to be trading to the Los Angeles Kings? Were you disappointed? Happy?

“I think I was shocked to get the phone call that I was possibly going to be traded and it was a tough time. It’s stunning you are going to be traded, but at the same time it’s nice to go to a team that’s got a lot of good players, a team that’s going to have success in the future. I’m just happy to be their [Los Angeles] and be a part of it.”

Did you sense that the Flyers fans were down on you and Jeff Carter after the disappointing exit in the NHL playoffs this past-season?

“Yeah I think whenever you underachieve as a team fingers get pointed. Usually the captain take a lot of that responsibility. The thing I regret the most is not getting surgery on my hand in the beginning of the year and having to play through an injury. Jeff [Carter] had to play through injury. We had injuries to Chris Pronger and other guys throughout the season too. It’s a tough year to go through especially with the Stanley Cup run we had [last year] and a short summer to get right back at with the expectations that we had on ourselves. You’re almost setting yourself up for failure, but it is what it is and I’m happy to go to L.A. I’m looking forward to a fresh start.”

Do you think that the Flyers have slipped a couple of notches as a team after they traded Jeff Carter and yourself away?

“I’m not going to comment on that. It’s tough for me to say. I have confidence in myself as a player and Jeff [Carter]. We’ve come up together and we thought we had an extremely good chance to win in Philadelphia to tell the truth. I thought we were going to win in the next couple of years and we were so close the year before last and last year we even made it into the second round, which isn’t no slouch. They got a lot of good players in Philadelphia, Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk. They showed it in the playoffs what kind of players they can be. They got a great back end and now a good goaltender, so I’m not sure what way they took the step, but it was definitely a different direction.”

Listen to Mike Richards on Into the Night with Tony Bruno here [Interview begins at 13:08 mark in the podcast]

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