Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards joined NHL Live to look ahead to the 2014-15 season.
The Kings, who are attempting to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998, begin their defense of the Cup on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN), and essentially return the same team that defeated the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.
"It's a great scenario for us," Richards said. "Really, Willie Mitchell is the only player that we lost from that team, and even though he was a big piece of what we had last year we have players that can step in. You don't have to go through a feeling out process with different teammates, different linemates. That allows us to be more comfortable going into camp and especially starting the season here [Wednesday]."
Richards scored 11 goals and 41 points in 82 regular-season games last season, and three goals and 10 points in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including a goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round Series when the Kings eliminated the Anaheim Ducks. The Kings also became the fourth team in NHL history to come back from trailing a series 3-0.
Richards and Kings teammate Jeff Carter played for the Philadelphia Flyers team that rallied from down 3-0 to defeat the Boston Bruins in 2010.
"There's the confidence, I think, of winning, I think you build that throughout the regular season," Richards said. "We had the same feeling when we were with Philadelphia even though we lost the first three. We felt we were right there for a lot of the games and the same thing happened, especially in Game 3, with L.A. last year. We thought we were building a lot of momentum and ending up losing that game in overtime, but I think that gave us confidence for Game 4 and beyond. Obviously you need some luck on your side to do something like that."