Mike Richards pulled on his official Kings jersey for a press conference in July and for some official team photos last week, but tonight he will wear it for real for the first time (at least as “real” as things get in exhibition play.) Richards will play against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight on a line with Dustin Brown and Brad Richardson (their regular linemate, Simon Gagne, will miss the game after suffering from flu symptoms this week). After today’s morning skate, Richards talked about his transition to the Kings during training camp…
Question: You’d had a lot of practices and meetings, but getting on the ice for a game, how much will that help you tonight?
RICHARDS: “It’s just nice to get things started. You can practice all you want, on the Xs and Os side of things, but the important thing is getting into games and getting chemistry with your linemates and your new teammates. That’s going to be the biggest thing to get adjusted to.”
Question: Having some guys that you knew from Philadelphia, how much has that helped to ease the transition?
RICHARDS: “With the coaches, it’s open communication with a lot of things. Having Simon here, playing on the line, obviously makes it easier. I know how he plays and we’ve had some chemistry before, so that makes it easier too, to just have familiar faces to come to the rink to and not have to get to know everybody. It makes it easier.”
Question: Terry (Murray) and John (Stevens), have they changed a lot from what you remember, or is a lot of it the same?
RICHARDS: “It’s pretty close to the same. There are some Xs and Os that have changed but it’s pretty much the same style and demeanor. You’re coming into the season intense, with a lot of work in training camp. That expectation to win, and the intensity to win, is there. I’m excited to get started tonight.”
Question: How is Southern California treating you so far?
RICHARDS: “It’s different than what I’m used to, but I like it. Obviously any time you wake up by the beach, it’s a good thing. Everyone on the team has treated me well and welcomed me. I obviously appreciate that, and it makes it a lot easier, I think, with the transition.”