What a difference a leader makes.
I feel almost a little bad for teams without Mike Richards. I mean, the guy is your prototypical captain. Let's say you were going to build a captain, and you were looking for offensive and defensive balance, a great penalty-killer, with a wicked slap shot, good speed and a mean streak...
Well, you'd have Mike Richards.
The one thing I think he needs (and really, what do I know?) is veteran presence; someone to mentor him a little bit.
With Guerin mentoring guys like Crosby (and Staal, Malkin and the rest), you see the difference it's had with their team. Had the Flyers picked up that guy at the deadline, it would've been huge for them. They're a young squad, and they know what it means to play hard and to lay it all out there. But they still need that guy, like Guerin.
Luckily, though, this isn't just any young team. The Flyers have their share of leaders and it doesn't end with the captains.
First you have Jeff Carter. And here, I'd like to talk about how big Marc-Andre Fleury's toe-save was in Game 2, because it has a little to do with Carter as well.
Carter, with the puck on his stick and Fleury down, was robbed by Fleury's toe. Because Carter was looking at a sharp angle, you can see if you watch it, from the angle he came in from, the shot was awkward and off-balance and just looked to push it over the line.
Well, Fleury was there. He made a great toe-save. We score and climb back up in the series and now we're looking to take a strange-hold with a Game 4 win at home.
With Richards, he loses his stick, he was going to get another stick from the bench, and he buried someone on the way to the bench. Giroux made up for that unfortunate slash in OT last game - and we can't talk about that 5-on-3, in OT - with a great game!
That unbelievable shortie in the first period, against the boards, gets the puck, feeds it out in front to Gagne. Mark this kid, he's going to be a force in a few years.
Thank you, Mike Richards.
Author: David Boreanaz | Special to NHL.com
The views expressed on any blogs appearing on NHL.com are those of the bloggers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NHL, its teams, officers, officials, players or other affiliates.