Well removed from trades, former Kings, Flyers open up
There is a long list of players and coaches who have represented both the Kings and Flyers through front office positions, free agent signings, coaching staffs and one franchise-altering trade that took place on June 23, 2011.
The only game played since the trade that sent Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second round draft pick to Philadelphia on June 23, 2011 was the fourth game of the 2011-12 season, a 3-2 overtime Kings win on a power play Jack Johnson redirection of a Mike Richards pass at the Wells Fargo Center on October 15, 2011.
On Saturday these teams will meet for only the second time since the trade. For Jeff Carter, who was traded to Columbus on the same day Richards was traded to Los Angeles, tomorrow will be his first time ever facing the Flyers. For Simmonds and Schenn, tomorrow will be the first time they’ve visited Staples Center as visitors. For a pair of teams looking to regain their footing in the standings, Saturday’s matinee should be an emotional, entertaining affair.
On Friday, the ex-Flyers and Ex-Kings opened up about the emotions of facing their former teams.
Wayne Simmonds, on whether this is his first time in Los Angeles since the trade:
No, it’s the first time, first time back. Two years ago we played in Anaheim, but we never came back to LA. [Reporter: What’s it like?] I don’t know. Everything still looks the same. I talked to some of the trainers this morning. It was nice to talk to some of the guys I haven’t seen in a while. So it’s good to be back.
Simmonds, on the renovations to the Toyota Sports Center:
They kind of renovated the whole place. It looks different. I haven’t seen inside the dressing room obviously. This place is like a maze. It’s definitely different over here.
Simmonds, on if it has been tough not playing in Los Angeles since being traded:
No, not really. It’s fine. Different conferences – that’s what happens. Obviously with the scheduling – last year we only played east teams and the year before we either did home or away against a team, just one game. So it’s going to be a nice opportunity to play here at STAPLES Center again.
Simmonds, on if he has grown as a player since being traded to Philadelphia:
Definitely. Obviously, I said it before, I was cast in a different role kind of before. With the Flyers I have an opportunity to be an offensive player and always tried to run with it.
Simmonds, on losing in Anaheim on Thursday:
We played a good game I thought last night. It was probably the hardest that we’ve gotten all year. It was a physical game. Those are the types of games I like to play. Unfortunately, like you said, we came out of with nothing. So we have to draw from the negatives and learn what we did wrong and let’s take it out to the next game tomorrow.
Simmonds, on the Kings:
I think the Kings are a big team. Big, physical team – same mold as Anaheim. They have a lot of big bodies. I’ve been watching them lately, I think they haven’t scored too many goals but that can change on any given night. I think we have to focus on ourselves when we go into the game tomorrow – just take care of what we have to do.
Simmonds, on seeing former teammates while in Los Angeles:
I will probably see some of the guys today. I’ll give some of them a ring, let them know I’m in town. If not, I’ll definitely see them tomorrow after the game. [Reporter: You don’t think they know you’re here?] Obviously they know I’m in town. I’m good buddies with a lot of the guys on that team, obviously. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I spent the first few years of my career here and I loved it. It’s nice coming back, that’s for sure.
Simmonds, on how he found out he was traded:
It was actually a big surprise to me. I actually was at my uncle’s cottage up in PEI when I got the phone call. Obviously I was shocked, but hockey is a business. So pieces get moved around. You can’t be bitter. You can’t take it as a negative thing. Philadelphia wanted me and I’m happy to be in Philadelphia. I’m a Flyer now and they’ve given me the opportunity to grow as a player and I’m thankful.
Simmonds, on what he might say to Drew Doughty on the ice:
I probably have got the most ammunition on that guy out of anyone in the world. We’ll save it for the ice. I’ll probably say some things, but we’re pretty tight. Summertime, we spend our summers probably two hours away from each other and I probably see him every other weekend. I’ve got a lot on that guy.
Simmonds, on his memories of being a King:
Playing my first NHL game, obviously and putting on the Kings jersey going into San Jose which was my first game I remember. That was unbelievable. I’m grateful to the organization for allowing me to get my foot in the door, definitely.
Simmonds, on how much he paid attention to the Kings the year he was traded:
Obviously, I talked to the guys. Like I said, I have a lot of good friends on this team and it’s never going to change. I followed the Kings like I follow all the other teams in the NHL I have friends on. If I have friends on a certain team, I watch those particular teams. I have friends on this team so I watch the Kings play. I watch St. Louis play. I watch Washington play and all those other teams I have friends on.
Simmonds, on his reaction to Los Angeles winning the Stanley Cup:
I was happy for the guys. I remember after the final game I actually texted pretty much everyone on the team congratulating them. Obviously, I have no bitter feelings. I got traded to Philadelphia, where they wanted me and I play a ton here and I’m happy to be here. I don’t think I’d rather be anywhere else right now. I’m grateful to the Flyers organization. They’re awesome. They’ve treated me so well. I had fun in LA and I’m having fun in Philly.
Brayden Schenn, on whether being traded with Wayne Simmonds helped him adjust:
Definitely, I feel like I’ve played with Simmer for the past five or six years – even though at first I was 18,19. We spent the majority of our careers together on the same line, well for me anyways. It’s nice having him along at your side.
Schenn, on the difference between Flyers and Kings hockey:
The West is a little bit different hockey than the East. That’s what guys always say. Obviously I haven’t played much in the West, but it’s a little bit different style of a game. Out here in California, you got a lot of big, strong teams, and out east, maybe it’s a little bit more offensive and the West is a little bit more defensive. As far as the team goes, LA is obviously big, strong. We feel we’re kind of the same thing as well. Both teams have a lot of skill.
Schenn, on memories of Dean Lombardi in the days where he “wanted to play more”:
You always want more. You always feel like you’re going to get more and Dean gave me a little bit of opportunity at the start and obviously traded me, but that’s all part of business. I’m happy to be in Philadelphia and I definitely enjoy the organization.
Schenn, on whether he still pays attention to the Kings:
You look every once in a while, but it’s not like every day I’m checking stats to see how the Kings are doing. It’s different when you play out east. You don’t see the teams out west as much and that’s kind of how it goes.
Schenn, on whether it is weird coming back to Los Angeles:
Yeah, it is obviously. At the same time, I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity. It should be a good game. Obviously there are guys on the other team as well that spent many years in Philadelphia and I’m sure they’re looking forward to it just as much as we are.
Schenn, on if he is excited to finally play against the Kings in Los Angeles:
It’s exciting. For me, it’s the first time playing LA. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time here – a couple years here – but I’m looking forward to the game. Maybe it is a little bit more exciting for me playing a former team that drafted you.
Mike Richards, on playing the Flyers:
I played them a couple years ago, so I think that was a little bit weird at first. It’s three years gone. It’s just another game tomorrow I guess. It’s obviously exciting seeing everybody – still some friends on there with the trainers and Hartsy and G (Claude Giroux) and those guys, but it’s just another game. It’s been a while.
Richards, on the first time facing Philadelphia with Jeff Carter:
I’ve played. For him, it might be different because he didn’t play in the game in Philly, I believe he was hurt. But it’s three years ago, so it’s been a while.
Richards, on the Philadelphia roster turnover:
We were in here actually looking at the roster this morning and not even three years – two and a half years – I think four guys. Ray was gone and he came back, so five guys who were on that team. It’s quite the turnover for a team that’s two and a half years out.
Jeff Carter, on playing against Philadelphia:
I mean it will be fun. It’s my first time playing against them. I didn’t play – I came from Columbus. It’s always fun to play against your old team. A lot of good memories and met a lot of good people there. So it will be a lot fun.
Carter, on whether he is looking forward to this game in particular:
It’s been a while. I obviously looked at it when the schedule came out and what not, but once you get out there it’s just another game and it’s a big game for us. We’ve been throwing away some points, so we need to get a win.
Carter, on how he handled his trade from Philadelphia:
I put it behind me three years ago when it happened. [Reporter: Fans in Philadelphia still talk about it?] They can’t drop it I guess, eh. It happened three years ago. I moved on pretty quick and things all worked out.
Carter, on being traded to Columbus and then to Los Angeles:
Like I said, it all worked out. Tough start, but I was happy to get the opportunity to come here and obviously things worked out for us. It was a great situation here. It’s a great team, great coaches, great staff. It’s a great place to live, a great place to play hockey. So it’s been a lot of fun.
Carter, on how he has changed since winning the Stanley Cup:
You know what it takes to win. We came close in Philly. Then going through it here, you see what it takes to win. You see how hard it is and you kind of look back on the Chicago series and think about some stuff, but it’s not an easy thing to do.
Carter, on being named to the Canadian Olympic team:
It’s exciting. I wasn’t really sure how things were going to play out, but I’m obviously excited. It’s a huge honor. There is a lot of guys that aren’t there that could’ve been there. I wouldn’t want to be the guy picking that team – but it’s something that I’m looking forward to. I think I’ve worked hard in the last few years to put myself in a position to have a shot at it and I can’t wait to get over there.
Carter, on whether he expected Claude Giroux to make Team Canada:
Like I said, there is a lot of guys that aren’t there that could be there and G’s play speaks for itself the last few years. He’s an unbelievable player at both ends of the ice and I wouldn’t want to be the guy picking the team.
Carter, on if he stayed in Vancouver for the entirety of the last Olympics:
No, I was there for a few days. Hung out, went to one game and then I got out of there.
Carter, on what he expects from his Olympic experience:
I don’t know what it’s going to be like over there, but Vancouver – it was crazy. Obviously it was just being in Canada, the whole city was nuts. I got to go to one game, one early game. I just hung out and watched the game. Just the whole atmosphere around the Olympics and around the whole city – the city is buzzing – it was pretty cool just to kind of sit back and kind of take it all in.
Photos courtesy of Len Redkoles, Mike Stobe, Jeff Vinnick, Dave Reginek, National Hockey League, Getty Images