Before the 2008-2009 season, many people questioned the Flyers‚Äô decision to name Mike Richards as the team‚Äôs new captain. The doubters questioned whether or not Richards was too young, and not ready for all of the responsibilities that come with the C stitched on to his sweater.
The Flyers inconsistent play over that season didn‚Äôt do much to silence the critics. When the Flyers were lost in a terrible funk early this season, many were calling for Richards to have the C removed from his uniform.
Through all of the early season adversity, Ed Snider never budged from his stance regarding his captain. He stood behind Richards, and refused to entertain the idea of removing his title.
In this year‚Äôs playoffs, particularly in this series, Richards has shown why the Flyers brass has so much faith in him.
In Game 5, Montreal had the momentum early after scoring the first goal, and were set to go ahead 2-0 with a power play chance. However Richards had other plans. Richards stole the momentum away from the Canadians with some gritty play.
Richards generated a short-handed odd man rush with his strong physical play, and followed that up with another attack on a breakaway just seconds later, this time scoring to tie the game on a spectacular play.
Richards kept his play at a high level for the rest of the game; he got assists on two other Flyer goals, including an incredible pass to Jeff Carter that scored the game winning goal.
When a high profile player like Richards is able to set a tone, it can be contagious and carry over to the rest of the team. Richards has always been a solid player, but he is now evolving into the star that the Flyers have always hoped he was.