Updates: Must Win Game Three? Don’t Worry, Richie’s Got It

For those of you who have read my posts on here or at my other site, “The Philly Phour“, one of the main things you probably know about me is that I’ve never been a fan of Mike Richards.  I’ve thought he was many things so far throughout his tenure as a Flyer – immature, arrogant, selfish, and childish, to name a few – but one thing I never thought of when describing Richards was the term “Captain.”

Richie has given reason to believe he is this team's true "C"

Sure, he’s now in his second full season of wearing the “C” on his sweater, but I take personal judgement on all Flyers captains, whether it be fair or not.  I believe all captains should be held to the “Bobby Clarke Standard” – a philosophy where you must be the heart and soul of your team and be ready to guide and lead them at every moment.  Since Mike Richards had been given the “C”, I hadn’t seen an ounce of that “Bobby Clarke Standard,” although Clarke himself has said he’s seen some of himself in Richie.  I didn’t see it last year, and I didn’t see much of it this regular season, but over the past month I have seen the Mike Richards that had been so often talked about.  I’ve seen the Mike Richards that can take a team on his back and will them to victory.  I’ve seen a team that has begun to look to #18 in times of dire need, and Richards respond with an excellent shift, check, or shot.

However, perhaps most importantly, I’ve seen a captain.  And his name, for the first time ever to me, is Mike Richards.

These playoffs have showcased Richards at his absolute best.  He’s been a phenom in the faceoff circle, and his offensive prowess has been absolutely mindblowing.  His effort in the first round against New Jersey has translated heavily into his play during the current Semifinal series against Boston.  Although he quite frankly doesn’t have much around him to work with, he has proved that at times he is capable of doing everything by himself.  I’ve sat and marveled at times at the sight of Richards on the ice in recent weeks, and for the first time since he was named captain, I smile at the fact that due to his contract he’s basically a Flyer for life.  Maybe it was the grudge I held against him, or maybe it was more emotion that I wanted from him, but I just never wanted to believe in Richie.  Now, however, I’ve been put in a situation in which I don’t have a choice, and it’s been done so by the Captain himself.  Richards’ play these playoffs has been nothing short of sensational, and he has literally kept the Flyers within striking distance in every playoff game they’ve competed in thus far.

Richards will lead the Flyers to a Game Three victory tonight

That is why I say confidently that I am not worried about tonight.  The nerves will still be there throughout, and of course the possibility of falling down 3-0 to a team like the Boston Bruins is daunting, but that team does not have Mike Richards.  And that team won’t have 20,000 screaming fans at their backs tonight.  You can bet the Flyers will be extra charged to try and salvage their season with a victory, and you can also bet that Mike Richards will have something to say about the final score, as well as make a statement with his physical play.  What I’ve loved most about Richards in this series is his lack of fear.  He never backs down from a challenge, whether it be in the corner against the hard-hitting Johnny Boychuk, or being chased from behind by the oaf on skates, Zdeno Chara.  Richards will need to take the ice tonight at the Wachovia Center with a purpose and a desire to win.

I believe he’ll have them both, and put the Flyers a step closer to evening up this series.

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One Response to “Updates: Must Win Game Three? Don’t Worry, Richie’s Got It”

  1. PhillyFever84 Says:

    I have friends that hated on Richards the same way that you used to. They’re starting to come around now though.

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