Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 01/15/08 at 05:03 PM ET
Today, the NHL and the Philadelphia Flyers made Mike Richards available for a media teleconference. Below is the text of that Q&A session.
Q. Does it get any better than finalizing a 12-year contract extension and being named an All-Star in the span of two months?
MIKE RICHARDS: I don’t know, it’s been a pretty big season getting the privilege to play in an All-Star Game, it’s pretty exciting.
Q. Have you spoken to any of the veteran players about what to expect?
MIKE RICHARDS: Not really. I talked to a couple guys and they said it’s a good time. I’m excited to get down there. Just never really been a part of something like this it before, so I’m excited to get down there and see what it’s like.
Q. Do you have any opinion one way or the other on the SuperSkills format? They have the obstacle course and the breakaway challenge, anything there?
MIKE RICHARDS: I’m not even sure. I haven’t really looked at some of the skills things that they do. I know I used to watch it a little bit growing up. But I don’t really have too much of an opinion on it. From what I’ve heard about the skills breakaway thing where they judge, I think that’s going to be somewhat interesting.
Q. How has your role changed from last year? Your points are way up and you’re having such a great season; what are some of the keys to the success you’re having this season, as opposed to last years?
MIKE RICHARDS: I don’t know, the role hasn’t really changed a whole lot. I think we have a lot tighter group on the team. Everybody seems like they are gelling together well. And obviously easier to come to the rink and play every night when you’re surrounded by guys that you like and that you’re going to play that much harder for.
Q. Does having Daniel Briere in the lineup take the heat off you a little bit and allow you to play the game a little easier and put the points on the board this year?
MIKE RICHARDS: Well, having Danny and Gagne on the first line, and then Knuble on the second line and Kimmo and Umberger, it makes it a little bit easier to play in games because everyone is focusing on those guys playing so well, it takes some of the attention off of myself and my linemates. I know everyone is focused on Danny and Gagne, shutting them down so much so it frees us up a little bit.
Q. After the Islanders signed Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract, a lot of people said that both sides were crazy and it was such a raw deal; what was your first reaction when you heard of that contract being signed?
MIKE RICHARDS: To tell you the truth I wasn’t in the same boat. It was a shocker. I didn’t really expect something like that to happen. And now I mean, a couple of us have done it now.
At that time I didn’t have too much of an opinion on it, and you think it’s a long time to be with an organization. But I guess if you like the organization and you like the city, why not sign so that you know you’re going to be there and that you’re going to be in an environment you like for the next couple of years.
Q. When you first heard that you and the Flyers were discussing that long of a deal what did you think then?
MIKE RICHARDS: Excited. I talked to Paul Holmgren a little bit. Him and I kind of had a couple discussions about being here for the remainder of my career, and hopefully I will be.
I like it here. We both decided I think that was the right move, and that was the right thing we needed to do with me as a player and as an organization. I was happy when we got it done.
Q. Is there any concern that carries pressure and attention?
MIKE RICHARDS: I don’t know, I think the only pressure that you have is the pressure that you put on yourself. Obviously you’re not going to want to change your game or your style too much. You just want to go out there and play the game. I don’t feel any added pressure. I know you obviously have to do a couple more interviews and maybe you have a little more media attention but the pressure I don’t think is there.
Q. And one last thing, there’s talk that Peter Forsberg now is looking to start playing again and maybe soon picking an NHL team to come join. What would it be like to have him back in your dressing room?
MIKE RICHARDS: Well, Peter is a world-class player so it would be nice to have him on your team no matter what time of season. He’s the type of player that not only helps on the ice but he’s a great player in the dressing room. Everyone respects him and he care he’s himself so well.
It would be nice to have him on the ice but also off.
Q. A fella your age with the kind of contract that you have coming, what kind of financial advice did you have do you have and who is sort of taking charge of that? I know you’re maybe a bit young to be a sophisticated investor, so could you kind of explain what someone your age might do in this situation?
MIKE RICHARDS: Well, before I got into the NHL I went with a fella named Stuart (ph) out of Toronto Financial Management (ph) for financial and pretty much all advice, he helps me out with a lot of things. He’s kind of overseeing my financial stuff. He’s allowing me to go in there, too, and kind of try to make some decisions. He discusses things with me, and if I have an idea he’ll listen and explain the pros and cons about it.
It’s not just, you know, them going out and doing what they want to do. The money that you have in the long run, it’s your money, so you want to do what you want with it. But they kind of steer you in the right direction and tell you what you should do with it; and if you agree with them, they go ahead and do it.
He’s been really good to me the last couple of years and he’s treated me really well. He and I have a good relationship and I trust him with my money.
Q. Are your parents involved as well? Do you discuss a lot with them, too, when you have to make a decision like this?
MIKE RICHARDS: Yeah, I didn’t have to make any vital decisions yet. I’m not a big gambler, so I don’t want to go into stocks where it’s a big gamble and a high risk; so I’m just content with kind of keeping it simple and not doing a whole lot with it.
Q. Is real estate something that’s easier to understand maybe than the stock market?
MIKE RICHARDS: Maybe a little bit, but I think again, there, it fluctuates so much, no matter where you’re looking at real estate. I know I bought something back home already, but I bought that as more of a leisure and pleasure spot than real estate investment.
Q. Who are some of the players in the All-Star Game you might be looking forward to playing with?
MIKE RICHARDS: Well, I’m looking forward to being on the home team instead of the opposing team; it will be a lot easier having to play them than having to check them. There will be a lot of guys that you kind of respect so much both playing against them and seeing the skills, Ovechkin, guys like that, I’d just like to get to know them a little bit and see what they are like off the ice. Because you’ve played against them so many times on the ice, it will be a neat experience to get in the room with them and see what they are like.
Q. Your skills are really starting to show this year, but whenever somebody talks about what Mike Richards brings to the game your leadership constantly comes up, how much of a leadership role have you taken on the team given that you are still such a young player?
MIKE RICHARDS: You know what, I haven’t taken on too much of a leadership role to tell you the truth. We have so many leaders in the dressing room that you don’t have to do too much. You lot of respect from everyone and not only on the team but everyone in the league, when someone needs to be said, Hatch and Briere and Kimmo and all these guys are there, as well, so you don’t have to put too much pressure on yourself. You have to more or less worry about your hockey game than kind of the leadership thing.
Q. Can you describe the feeling of playing in Philadelphia for the fans there? I know they are starving for a Cup over there. What’s the feeling playing there?
MIKE RICHARDS: Well, they are very passionate. Last year going through some of the highs and lows, even though they kind of display their displeasure sometimes, they will also cheer. They are a fan group that will cheer you on as long as you work hard.
You know, if you show the effort, they are going to cheer you on, and obviously every city likes to be a winning team. It’s nice to go to the rink and know that they are going to be there and cheer passionately for you if you have a good game and if you’re playing well.
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