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01-10-2012, 08:22 AM
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Maybe you should look at the picks for three stars then. Kopitar and Quick have both been more prominent there, and the stats also favour them. I don't really watch LA games, and I assume you don't either on a regular basis, but from the highlights Kopitar is all over the place and always dangerous, whereas Richards is nowhere near dominant. He's an excellent player, but not the top guy.
Understand that by not watching the Kings (as you stated) you wouldn't be aware of the fact Mike Richards has been the most consistant forward on the team all year. I live in Philly but follow the Kings via NHL Center Ice and have watched all the games this year.
Kopi is the most talented player on the team, but Richards is more valuable because he plays better in more game situations, he does all the little things well. Something as simple as backchecking, stripping the puck in the defensive zone and reading the lanes and traffic patterns and getting stick on the puck to disrupt the attack. Every one of the Kings D men has spoken highly of the work he does and how smart he is back there, Scuderi esp. has spoken on how Richards rarely ever makea a mistake defending the zone and how much that helps them. He's never been as good defensively as he's been this year . Close to 70 minutes in Penalty killing time and 1 goal allowed ,for example (good enough for hte NHl to rank in him the top 3%)
And as of the stat NHL released at the quarter mark Dec 1 or so, he was tied for 7th allowing only 7 even strength goals.

He has 11 goals in his last 19 games, Kopi has 2 in the last 26.

When Richards got hurt Dec 1, he'd scored 9 in his last 10 and 7 were game tying or Game winning. When he got hurt, the team lost 5 in a row and fell apart. They are not the same without him and it showed. None of the other top 6 forwards stepped up in his absense.

He's had 6 left wingers and 3 right wingers , most of whom are not top 6 guys. No stablibility there yet.

For all over game, defending his teammates when they get run at (which he's done all year and is much appreciated by his teammates for this), stellar defense work, grit and hustle, terrific passing and playmaking , energy, IQ and scoring clutch goals...he's been the most valuable forward asset.

THe poll today on the Kings board reflects that, (who is the best forward ) he's got 75% of the vote.

I guess you could look at it another way, as a Flyer fan. Carter and Richards both played here for the same amount of time , 6 years. Carter was the more naturally skilled player, but who was more 'valuable' he or Richards? I don't think you'd find too many Flyers fans who would feel Richards was the more valuable.

Last edited by deeshamrock: 01-10-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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