We've already talked quite a bit about Mike Richards' return to Philly tonight, both here and over at Puck Daddy this morning. Given how infrequently the Flyers play the Kings, it feels a bit odd to have the event happen so quickly. Four games into the season, the Flyers will have played the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, who bounced them last season, the rival Devils, and the Western Conference Champs, plus their former captain, who was dealt in one of the most shocking trades in franchise history this summer.
Fortunately for the front office, the early returns have been outstanding. Can you imagine what the past few days of coverage would have been like if the Flyers were winless rather than undefeated when Richards came to town?
Plus, they've had great contributions from Wayne Simmonds, whose versatility is paying dividends with speed up the flanks, size in front of the net, and nastiness all over the ice. This guy's a Flyer.
Meanwhile, Brayden Schenn got his name in the paper with a hat trick for the Phantoms last night.
Richards came on the scene in a hurry for the Kings, scoring a goal and assisting on another in his debut, a 3-2 OT win over the Rangers in Stockholm. However, Richie hasn't factored into the scoring since. The Kings come to Philly 1-1-1 after a pair of losses to Buffalo and New Jersey (shootout loss).
Flyers West features some familiar and well-liked faces beyond that of Mr. Richards. Ron Hextall. Simon Gagne. Justin Williams. Terry Murray and John Stevens. LA is hardly a rough landing place for those allowed to leave or firmly shoved out of Philly. We hope the Wells Fargo Center is though, at least after that first introduction, when we think Richards deserves a standing O. He was a hell of a Flyer, and if he had his way, he'd be wearing Orange tonight. At least, that's how he felt in the summer months in the wake of the trade. Lately, he appears happy to have moved on.
It's not hard to imagine Richie being a major factor in tonight's action. He'll be as fired up to take the ice against the team that sent him away, to show his former home crowd that they shouldn't have. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see him lay a big hit on a key forward…
Should be a great one down in South Philly tonight.