Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Richards named Flyers captain

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Flyers rewarded Mike Richards on Wednesday, naming the young forward team captain.

"Mike carries a lot of the attributes that we believe a Philadelphia Flyer is all about," said general manager Paul Holmgren. "He is a hard-nosed kid and he has the skill and drive that it takes to excel in the National Hockey League. At this time, we just think that he is the right guy to lead us on the path we want to take."

Richards ranked third on the club with 28 goals to go with a team-leading 75 points and a plus-14 rating over 73 regular-season contests in 2007-08. He followed his best NHL campaign with seven goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games, including a penalty shot tally and a short-handed goal.

In three pro seasons, all with the Flyers, Richards has compiled 49 goals, 141 points and 193 penalty minutes in 211 games.

The 23-year-old native of Kenora, Ontario was given a mammoth 12-year contract extension during last season, a sign that the forward, an alternate captain at that time, might be groomed for a future leadership role with the club.

"It's obviously a privilege to be part of such a prestigious organization and now be captain of it," said Richards. "I am going to do my best."

He became the 17th captain in franchise history and 16th man named to the post, taking over for now-departed free-agent defenseman Jason Smith, who wore the letter last year. Only franchise icon Bobby Clarke served two terms (1972-79; 1982-84).

Forward Simon Gagne and defenseman Kimmo Timonen were named alternate captains.

Gagne, heading into his ninth NHL season, missed all but 25 games last year due to post-concussion syndrome. Timonen recorded eight goals and 44 points in 80 regular-season games in his first season with the Flyers.

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