Last summer, two-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Richards was unemployed. Terminated by the Kings due to his drug possession charges, Richards had to reboot his whole life. He also had to fill the hours of the day, which is where the Caseys Hockey League’s Kenora Kings come in.
Photo: Rob Carr
When the Capitals signed Mike Richards to a $1 million, one-year contract on January 6, Washington head coach Barry Trotz forecasted that the former Flyers and Kings forward would make his debut against the Anaheim Ducks on January 22 at Verizon Center. Richards hadn’t played since last April after having his contract voided by the Los Angeles Kings over the summer.
“There’s no assurances in anything, in life,” Trotz said at the time.
But after seeing Richards quickly get his legs under him and adapt to the Capitals’ system, Trotz had Richards debut almost a week earlier than planned when he skated on Washington’s fourth line on Saturday night in Buffalo.
“I probably went into this weekend thinking maybe in the seven-, eight-minute range,” Trotz said Sunday night, referring to Richards’s ice time. “Seven to eight minutes in the first game and seven to eight minutes in the second. Probably 10 at the high end.”
Despite a 4-1 Capitals loss, Richards was fantastic on Saturday, skating over 13 minutes, including a stellar three minutes spent penalty killing. One day later, Richards skated nearly 12 minutes against the New York Rangers. He spent another three minutes on Washington’s shorthanded unit, which was perfect in four opportunities.
“What you see is how competitive he is,” said Trotz. “You can skate all you want in practice, but when the game is happening there’s a fire inside that young man.”
On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals announced the signing of veteran center Mike Richards to a one-year deal. While Richards is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, the circumstances behind his move to Washington come out of sadness. In June, Richards was arrested at the Canadian border for transporting the opioid OxyCodone without a prescription. Shortly after, the Kings terminated his contract due to a “material breach.” He’s been out of a hockey since.
Friday, Richards practiced with the Capitals for the first time and was welcomed by Caps captain Alex Ovechkin in the most Ovi way possible. According to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, the Russian machine crashed Richards’ press conference. Ovechkin stuck his phone into the scrum of reporters as if he was recording the interview.
Friday morning, two-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Richards took the ice for his first practice with the Capitals. Head coach Barry Trotz said Richards will start as the team’s fourth-line center and his play will dictate if he moves up in the line-up.
“There’s no assurances in anything, in life,” Trotz said to the media Thursday. “The only assurances were that he was going to do his best to help us win the Stanley Cup, and that’s why we wanted to get him.”
Today’s practice will also determine if Richards is in need of a conditioning stint in Hershey that could last a maximum of two weeks. He will not play Saturday against the Rangers. In an interview Wednesday night with Gary Lawless, Richards said he’s been working out with a personal trainer and “never felt better.”
Richards will wear number 10 with the team.
Hours after signing a prorated one-year, $1 million deal with the Capitals, a contrite and excited Mike Richards spoke to TSN’s Gary Lawless about his new opportunity.
Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced the signing of center Mike Richards to a prorated one-year, one million dollar contract. The fiery Richards has won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings, which is awesome. He’s also one of three players to ever drop the gloves with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, which is really awkward if you think about it.
The Richards/Ovechkin brouhaha occured during a 2006-07 preseason game between the Caps and Flyers. It was Ovechkin’s first career NHL fight.
The Washington Capitals have signed 30-year-old free agent center Mike Richards. The deal is for one year with a pro-rated $1 million price tag.
This past summer, Richards parted ways with the Los Angeles Kings after he was arrested for drug possession along the Canadian border. His reinstatement comes with the approval of the league, specifically Gary Bettman, with whom Richards reportedly met earlier on Tuesday.
There’s been persistent rumors that the Caps are in the market for a center, ideally one capable of playing on the third line. PHWA member and founder of Mayor’s Manor John Hoven is reporting that the Caps are one of a few teams interested in Mike Richards, pending the outcome of his legal issues.
Photo: Chris Gordon
Sergei Fedorov left the Capitals in 2009, leaving a hole in the middle of the second line that the team hasn’t been able to keep filled since. There’s been Brendan Morrison and Eric Belanger and Jason Arnott and Mike Ribeiro, but no player has stuck at 2C for any length of time.
Looking at his options on Friday’s free agency frenzy, general manager George McPhee saw nothing to fill that hole. “We didn’t think it was a great class of players,” McPhee told the press after development camp practice on Monday afternoon. McPhee admitted he had a few discussions, but said that contract term was a frequent deal-breaker. “Salary you can compete with,” McPhee said, “but when people get into term that’s too long, you can ultimately hurt your competitiveness down the road.” That’s certainly in line with owner Ted Leonsis’ edict regarding signing veterans.
And so the club looked inward to fill its abscess at 2C. A nation’s capital turns its lonely eyes to Brooks Laich.
Special thanks to Gary Bettman for letting the guys out of the Quiet Room long enough for us to snap this pic. Enlarge. (Photo illustration by Ian Oland)
The stars of the All-Star Game were a little less bright this year. Some of the familiar faces that fans expect were absent for reasons that are becoming all too familiar in the modern NHL: head injury. Approximately 85 head injuries have been reported this year, meaning that nearly ten percent of all active players have been injured. 28 of 30 teams have reported at least one head injury, while some franchises have dealt with as many six or seven. With star center Nicklas Backstrom now sitting out due to concussion, the issue has hit close to home for Caps fans.