Here are the highlights of the Mike Richards portion of the conference call…
Question: Just curious as to your general reaction. Some of the folks in Philly were writing that you were very surprised by this…
RICHARDS: “Yeah, I was very shocked when I got a call in the early afternoon from my agent. He just kind of gave me the rundown on what he knew. As the afternoon progressed, I started hearing a little bit more and more, and then I ended up actually reading it on the Internet before I was able to get the confirmation from my agent about it. At first I was shocked, and then excited. I’m excited to go out to L.A. and be a part of a team that has a ton of great players. I’m just looking forward to helping them out.”
Question: You played under Terry Murray in Philadelphia. Can you talk about your memories of him and what you expect from him as your new coach?
RICHARDS: “He was great with me. He worked with me in Philly but I also had John Stevens as well in Philadelphia. They were both coaches that I got along extremely well with and who played me a lot of minutes and in positions to have success, on the power play and penalty kill. Those are two guys that I got along extremely well with, and I’m looking forward to working with them again.”
Question: (Flyers GM) Paul Holmgren seemed really emotional when he announced the deal. Can you just describe what getting that call from him was like, and how that conversation went?
RICHARDS: “It was tough for me, too. Paul and I have got along extremely well during my six years there. It wasn’t a long conversation, but I just thanked him for giving me the opportunity to play with them and to be a Flyer and live in Philadelphia for six years. I think we were both a little emotional, so it wasn’t a long conversation. It was one I didn’t think I was ever going to have to do.”
Question: Obviously the Kings feel they’re in a position to make the next step, and you’re going to be a big part of that. What are your thoughts on the team and what you know about them and where you see yourself fitting in?
RICHARDS: “I’m not sure how I’m going to fit in, but I like the makeup of the team. They’ve got an extremely gritty team with a lot of skill. They have two great goaltenders, up to a defense that is skilled and play the game hard, and then you’ve got a lot of depth at the forward position too. I’m not sure how I’m going to get placed into it at the moment, but I’m just looking forward to getting there and really just playing the game that has kind of got me to this point.”
Question: Had you heard your name mentioned in trade talks, or specifically about coming to L.A.?
RICHARDS: “I actually never heard one rumor, or not one person ever said anything to me about being traded until 1:30, 2 o’clock today when I got a call from Pat (Morris, agent), just to give me a heads-up that there was a good chance that, at some point today, I’d be traded.”
Question: If someone would have told you, when you signed that big extension, that this would happen one day, what would have been your reaction?
RICHARDS: “I probably wouldn’t have signed the deal, actually, if I knew I was going to be traded. But I was fortunate enough to go to L.A., where I’ve heard nothing but tremendous things, not only about the organization but about the city and how nice it is out there and how great the organization treats you. Obviously when I signed that extension I wanted to stay in Philadelphia for the rest of my career. That’s what I envisioned, probably up until 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock this afternoon, when I got the call. it’s unfortunate. Nobody likes to be traded, but I feel like I’m going to a team where there’s a good chance that we’re going to have success there, and we have good players in position and a good organization. Hopefully we can take that next step together, and I just want to be there and help out any way possible.”
Question: How many guys do you know on the Kings, and what will it be like to go to training camp with a new team?
RICHARDS: “It’s going to be different, showing up to training camp in a new place and not going back to Philadelphia. I know Drew Doughty from the Olympics, and Justin Williams a little bit just from being in Philadelphia, and Dustin Brown from playing against him in the OHL. It’s going to be strange, for sure, not going back to Philadelphia and seeing everybody there, and going to L.A. to see a bunch of new faces. I almost have to start from scratch there, but it’s an opportunity for me to be a part of an organization that has a good chance to have success, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”