Posts Tagged ‘Mike Richards’

Welcome to Wayne’s World

Posted: September 28, 2011 by Crimespree Hockey in Philadelphia Flyers, Trade
Tags: , , , , , ,

This guest post was written by John Russo, of the blog Team to Beat.

A wrecking ball, a playmaker, a game changer.

When I think of the Flyers newly acquired winger Wayne Simmonds, I keep repeating those phrases in my head.

As soon as I read that Mike Richards was being shopped, my heart sank. There goes a guy who provides a spark offensively and defensively who can also tally 30 goals. But after reading the return, “… for C Brayden Schenn, LW Wayne Simmonds, 3rd round pick…,” I nearly fell out of my chair. Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers not only managed to pry away a top prospect from the Kings for Richards but also Wayne Simmonds? This city is going to fall in love with him!

Okay, enough of the ecstatic recount of my obvious fandom towards Simmonds. Though Schenn, Ilya Bryzgalov (signed) and Jakub Voracek (acquired from Columbus for Jeff Carter) are three of the most glittery moves made this off season by the Flyers, the biggest impact player may come from the guy now wearing the #17 jersey.

I swear for 60 minutes in the Flyers first preseason game that Simmonds never left the ice. All I heard and saw was Simmonds flying around the ice, hitting people and trying to make things happen. By playing on the third line, Simmonds can give the Flyers 15 hard minutes a game as well as play on the penalty kill. His defense is the best aspect of his game and that will give head coach Peter Laviolette even more reasons to keep Simmonds out on the ice.


This is part two of my two part summer doldrums games package.  Part one (the worst games) can be found here.

5. Flyers 7, Kings 4 (12/30/10)
Part one of my three game SoCal adventure (part two is in the “worst games” post). Both sides can agree the officiating was awful on this night, but the scoring came in bunches. Both the Flyers’ Mike Richards and Kings’ Ryan Smyth had two goal nights, Richards also added two assists. Claude Giroux chipped in three assists. The Flyers powerplay actually worked for once, scoring two goals! It was fun being one of the few people in my section standing up and cheering seven times in one game, high fiving a guy a few seats down while the natives gave me dirty looks.

4. Flyers 5, Devils 2 (10/3/09)
The invasion of “The Rock” was successful. It was Jersey’s home opener and we ruined the party. Ray Emery, who’d shutout Carolina the night before, was great in net for the Flyers. The Flyers jumped out to a 4-0 lead sometime in the 3rd before New Jersey scored two goals, sandwiched around a 5th Flyers goal. They may have been chanting “hey…you suck” to the Flyers and our fans, but we surely didn’t suck on that night. Best part of the night may have been an upset Devils fan asking our group (who was being a bit raucous), “When’s the last time you guys won anything?” I blurted out, “About ten minutes ago, did you see the scoreboard?” He muttered and stuttered, “that’s not what I meant”, and we just laughed at him.

3. (more…)

In a span of an hour, the Flyers broke up the foundation of the franchise. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have been together in the Flyers organization since 2003, when they were both drafted by the team. They’ll be playing the 2011-12 NHL season in different colors though, after Richards was dealt to Los Angeles and Carter to Columbus. The deals came as a shock to fans, as two of the most known Flyers were sent packing.

The Return
So, what did the Flyers get in these deals?

Jakub Voracek had 14 goals, 46 points for Columbus last year. The 6’1, 205 lb Czech was Columbus’ first rounder (#7 overall) in 2007 and has played three years for the Blue Jackets, amassing 39 goals and 136 points in 241 games.

With Los Angeles, Wayne Simmonds scored 14 goals and 30 points while amassing 75 penalty minutes. The power forward has played the last three years with the Kings after being drafted by the team in 2007. “Simmer”, as he is known, has scored 39 goals and 93 points in 240 games.

Last year, Schenn spent some time with the Kings (0-2-2 in 8 GP), Manchester of the AHL (3-4-7 in 7 GP). He spent the majority of his time in the WHL with Brandon (1-3-4 in 2 GP) and Saskatoon (21-32-53 in 27 GP). In the 2011 World Junior Championships, he tied a Canadian record for points in a single tournament (8-10-18 in 7 games).  Schenn is one of the top prospects in all of hockey.

They also received the #8 & #68 picks in this year’s draft, as well as the Kings’ 2nd rounder next year. What the Flyers plan to do with the picks remains to be seen.


WHOAAA NELLY! What a half-an-hour the Philadelphia Flyers had late this afternoon. Just on the off chance that you live under a rock, are a member of Swiss Family Robinson, or totally incapacitated via a Lumbar Puncture the quick summary of today is Jeff Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek, a 1st and 3rd round pick, followed quickly by Captain Mike Richards sent to LA for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, then the 9 year $51 million deal announcement with goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Needless to say Paul Holmgren gave Shaken Baby Syndrome to his team, and additionally, his fanbase.

I am not going to worry about debating if which trades are good for whom in the immediate term or 2-3 years for now. Even not going to touch on the likelihood that Bryzgalov will complete all 9 years of this contract in Philadelphia.

First thing is I have to question the thought process going in to the goaltender position for Philly. By choosing to trade for the exclusive negotiating rights to Bryzgalov, it comes across as a “win now” mentality if they are going to push Sergei Bobrovsky aside.  Now signing the goalie they must have to an long term contract sure appears to eliminate any chance of Bobrovsky becoming the go to guy in Philadelphia. Should pushing to ‘win now’ be worth taking the starter position away from Bobrovsky due to a fade late in the season? Lest we forget that Evgeni Malkin hit the wall in his rookie year due to never playing an NHL length season before as well. Bobrovsky played almost as many games this season than his two prior years in the KHL. I easily would have seen him be much more prepared for the NHL grind this coming season.

I also want to question Bryzgalov as well. Did he want his money so badly that he took a very heavily front-loaded long term deal when the unloaded contracts to make room for his gaudy demands were also heavy long term deals? I say this in jest but it still honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Bryzgalov’s time doesnt go well in Philadelphia watch him get the heave ho and the reins given back to Bobrovsky.

I know that as a Penguin fan, it is a contractual obligation and morally requisite of me to hate the Flyers and should, by all rights, be laughing at the pain and anguish that the Flyer faithful is going thru tonight. But I have had a question for quite some time, “What does it mean to be a Flyer?”.  That isn’t meant in some ignorant way regarding the image of the team on the ice and within a fanbase.  What I wonder is the philosophy in the front office.  I’ve never was exactly knowledgeable of the ways that Bobby Clarke built his teams.

I have been more understanding of what Paul Holmgren has done since taking over GM duties for Clarke. The Flyers had the worst team in the league in the 06-07 season and several moves late in the season and the subsequent offseason earned praise from me for turning a doormat and team that looked for a slow rebuild into a team that was ready to be playoff caliber right away.  In fact I was impressed enough that I was willing to call him one of the best GMs in the league in such a short amount of time. Ever since then, however, more of his maneuvers tend to leave me scratching my head.

With signing two members of your core to epic length contracts only to trade them several years later to sign another player at a different position to equally surprising term has really lost me. Trading up and coming players or prospects and high level picks for that ever elusive final piece continuously when it hasn’t once paid off and never seeming to end such practices.  Always going the splash route in attempts to improve as opposed to scouring for the right pieces to get the Flyers over the top.  There appears to be no true rhyme and reason or method to their madness that I can discern. Maybe someone got jealous of all this Jagr talk. OK, no not really but that made you chuckle.

Looks like I need more help afterall. So, what does it actually mean to be a Flyer?

Blue Jackets and Rangers fans tried to warn me.  I wouldn’t listen.  I thought the Flyers picking up Nikolay Zherdev could be a solid signing; giving depth to their scoring, without tying too much into the future if it didn’t work out (1 year, $2 million deal).  They kept telling me that I was going to get aggravated with his one-dimensional play, and trying only when he felt like it.  I thought his stint in the KHL could have set him straight (as it did for former Flyer Ray Emery).  I thought he’d be motivated by playing on a Cup contender.

He started off pretty good, too. By Christmas he had 13 goals and Paul Holmgren looked like a genius.

Then he started playing like the Nikolay Zherdev that NHL fans knew. He wound up scratched for most February.  Flyers fans started to sour on him and realized a tiger never changes his stripes.  He only had three points in 13 games after the All-Star break.

In game in Carolina, Mike Richards fell ill after a ceremony for Rod Brind’Amour.  The team needed a replacement for Richards, and looked for Zherdev.  But he was nowhere to be found.  Jody Shelley eventually filled in for the Flyers’ captain in that game. Four days later, he was placed on waivers, but nobody picked him up.  It was rumored that the Flyers might try to dump him at the trade deadline.  Nobody bit and the Flyers were stuck with him for the remainder of the year.  He played a couple games before being scratched most of March.  When Jody Shelley got hurt, Zherdev got back into the lineup for the final five regular season games, and played seven out of the team’s nine playoff games.

He actually played decent in the playoffs, even though he only picked up three points.  The team as a whole failed, losing in the second round to the Bruins.  This led some fans to believe Holmgren might give him a second chance, but most felt he wouldn’t return.

The team seemed to play better when he was not in the lineup.  Without him in the lineup, the team went 18-4-2 (including playoffs).  When he played, the Flyers went 33-25-7, a winning percentage of .561.  To put that in perspective, the Rangers (who finished 8th in the East) had a winning percentage of .567.  The team scored a bit more goals (3.11 to 3.07) when he was dressed, but their defense suffered.  The Flyers had a goals against of 2.34 when he wasn’t in the lineup, as compared to a 3.02 GAA when he was.  His time on ice also seemed correlated to the team’s win-loss record.  When he played more than his average of ~13 minutes, the team was 12-11-3.  The Flyers record was 21-12-2 when he played less than his average.  However, his stats were about the same (14 points when playing 13+ minutes; 11 points when playing less).

Zherdev wasn’t likely to come back with the club next year, but new developments may have pushed those chances to zero.  Reports are surfacing that Zherdev attempted to beat his wife after an argument at a restaurant. The early reports are conflicting, but who will offer him a contract with his past attitude problems and any pending legal issues?

Philadelphia bids you adieu, Nik Zherdev.