Will Richards be a playoff performer?

Understandably, much attention has been paid in recent days to Jeff Carter and his ability to return from an ankle injury. Just as much attention should be paid, though, to one of Carter’s linemates. Mike Richards finished the regular season with 18 goals and 26 assists in 74 games, numbers that were far below expectations. Yes, Richards did strong work as a defensive center, but he had some baffling scoring lapses this season. Richards did finish the season with two goals and three assists in his last five games, and that was without Carter in the lineup. Richards also had 50 points in 63 career playoff games with Philadelphia. Darryl Sutter was asked today about the importance of having Richards as a top scoring threat in this series against Vancouver…

SUTTER: “You start at ground zero, right? I think that’s what you do when the playoff start. You start at zero. It’s the old story. You want top guys to rise up, and there’s always guys that come out of — that don’t normally get talked about — they rise up. He’s one of our top guys, and he will. You look at it, and he has been a pretty good playoff player. I know how much it’s been portrayed about his numbers, but he’s been a pretty good player for us since I’ve been here.’’

Incidentally, speaking of playoff performances, Sutter tossed out a couple good lines in his media availability this morning. Sutter didn’t take any jabs, as he did the last time the Kings visited Vancouver, but he did have a couple zingers for media members who tried to get him to be a little warm and fuzzy about coaching his first playoff game since 2006. Sutter was asked about being back in the playoffs after an absence, and said, “Well, I haven’t coached for a few years, so it would be pretty tough to be here.” Later, asked if he was a different coach now, or if he sees things differently now, Sutter said, “I don’t see as good, so I see it differently.’’

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