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12-22-2011, 04:17 PM
  #39
Telos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nex06 View Post
If it only was that easy. Richards gone is not the reason why the team played the way they played in my opinion. There is no player in the league whose absence can change whole profile and character of the team. We are not talking about being better or worse at all.

I am optimistic because the team showed improvement in last couple of games, without Richards, without Sutter.
The smallest/simplest changes can have the most profound effect on a team. He is not THE reason, but he is certainly an important factor. Losing Richards and Mitchell raised the alarm and put out a call for the rest of the team to step up. No one answered. At least, not until this road trip, and not as a whole. Richards is a highly influential figure, you would be hard pressed to find many others like him in the NHL that can perform at such a high standard and exude such confidence, passion, and desire to succeed. It is infectious. He is a man that can will goals, there is no one else on this team that can at the moment, some that could but not that can.

His return is a big boost to morale and takes some of the burden off others, like Kopitar.

I think it is impossible to keep this player away from a letter. Longest signed King, he may very well find himself with the C one day, but I think he will get an A no matter what in the future. He just plays hockey. When the chips are down, there is no hope, he is injured and requires surgery, he is still going to dive into those skates and sacrifice everything to try and stave off that extra goal. That is hockey in it's purest form and it resonates across the benches and locker room.

His very last shift as a Flyer before he became a King:


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