Monday, 22 February. Remember that as the day Caps fans everywhere celebrated Mike Richards! Richards, who joined the team on 6 January 2016, scored his first goal in a red sweater. And the crowd at Verizon Center went nuts with not one, but two, standing ovations for the former Stanley Cup winner.
About a year ago, the Caps were in discussions about possible trades come the deadline. Mike Richards was on many prognosticators radar with most writers saying the Caps should trade for him to help with the playoff push. Oh what a difference a year makes.
Richards has been through a bit of a personal struggle the past year or so and coming to Washington after a promising career with the LA Kings would mean a fresh start for him. In typical Caps fashion, the fans welcomed him with applause the first time he joined the team for practice at Kettler Ice Plex in Arlington, Virginia.
And then we waited for what seemed like an eternity for him to get that first goal and with former teammate Justin Williams, bring us some of the Cup magic. Prior to Monday night, in 14 games he had zero points and we were all getting a little concerned for him. Monday was really a Williams-Richards night with Stick fighting hard at the net, spending four minutes in the box for two penalties, and recording an assist; the boys for LA were showing us how to get it done!!
Richards was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2003. Most recently he played with the Los Angeles Kings from 2011-2015. Richards has had a fairly solid career. In his six seasons with the Flyers he tallied 133 goals, 216 assists, 349 points and a +39. In a little over 3 1/2 seasons with the Kings, Richards posted 46 goals, 87 assists, 133 point and a -21 while winning two Stanley Cups.
At 31, he still has some years left in the tank. In last night’s Washington—Arizona game, he showed why the Caps took a chance on him. In the third, as Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue tried to press his glove to the ice to cover the puck, Tom Wilson dove and poked it away. Richards shot it in from just outside the crease, giving him his first goal since January 2015. Domingue was furious as he yelled at the refs that he had covered up the puck. The Coyotes coach challenged the goal but the refs said it was a good goal and that gave the Caps the lead for good.
His deal with the Washington Capitals amounts to one year, one million dollars, and a chance to prove to the hockey world that he still has what it takes on the ice. We here at FiCP loved Richards and Williams as Kings, but they are ours now and we couldn’t be more excited! Here’s hoping that Mike’s redemption story concludes with the Caps hoisting the Stanley Cup come June.
Go CAPS GO!!!
Written by: Maggie Marcum and Chris Johnson
Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy