|Born||February 11, 1985 |
Kenora, Ontario, Canada
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||199 lb (90 kg; 14 st 3 lb)|
|Los Angeles Kings|
|NHL Draft||24th overall, 2003|
Early Hockey Career
Mike grew up playing minor league hockey in his hometown of Kenora, Ontario. He played level A rep hockey for the Kenora Thistles until being drafted fourth overall in the 2001 OHL Priority Selection by the Kitchener Rangers. Mike was not a noted prospect prior to the selection.
After receiving a tip from a friend in Kenora, Rangers general manager Jamie MacDonald traveled to see Mike play on two occasions. He began his major junior career with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2001–02. He was a member of a dominant 2003 Kitchener team that captured the Memorial Cup and led the team in scoring during the regular season with 87 points.
Following the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) championship victory, Mike was chosen as team captain. That summer, the Philadelphia Flyers selected him 24th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft with the second of the team's first round picks that season.
Upon being drafted, Mike returned to the Rangers for two more seasons. In his last season of junior, 2004–05, he embarked on another Memorial Cup run with Kitchener, but despite a remarkable 28-point performance from Richards in just 15 playoff games, the Rangers were eliminated by the London Knights in the OHL semi-finals.
As soon as Kitchener was eliminated, the Flyers assigned Mike to the Philadelphia Phantoms, their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, for their playoff run. Averaging over a point per game, he became a key part of the Phantoms' 2005 Calder Cup championship.
Mike made his NHL debut with the Flyers the following season and scored a goal in his first game on October 5, 2005, against the New York Rangers. Later in the season, he scored his first career NHL hat trick, which included two shorthanded goals, against the New York Islanders on February 8, 2006.
Mike's hat trick was the first by a Flyers rookie since Mikael Renberg on February 15, 1994. He finished his NHL rookie season with 34 points in 79 games, third among Flyers rookies to Jeff Carter (drafted the same year as Mike, 11th overall) and R.J. Umberger.
Following an injury shortened sophomore season, Mike was kept to 32 points in 59 games due to stomach surgery. He emerged as a star with the Flyers in 2007–08 and topped the team in scoring with 75 points.
Recognizing his ascent as a leader on the team, Mike was named one of the Flyers' alternate captains at the outset of the season and was signed to a lengthy 12-year contract extension worth $69 million on December 13, 2007.
Shortly after signing the deal, Mike was selected to represent the Eastern Conference at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta. In the first NHL All-Star Game of his career, he registered an assist.
As the Flyers entered the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the third-seeded Washington Capitals, Mike scored his first playoff goal on a penalty shot against Washington goaltender Cristobal Huet in game three.
In doing so, Mike became just the second player in NHL history to score his first playoff goal on a penalty shot (the first was Wayne Connolly who did so with the Minnesota North Stars in 1968).
The Flyers defeated the Capitals in seven games and then upset the Montreal Canadiens before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Mike finished his 2008 playoff run with 14 points in 17 games.
Before the start of the 2008–09 season, on September 17, 2008, Mike was named the 17th captain in Flyers history, succeeding previous captain Jason Smith, who had signed with the Ottawa Senators in the off-season.
On February 15, 2009, Mike became the first player in NHL history to score three career 3-on-5 shorthanded goals when he beat New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in a 5–2 win.
Six days later, on February 21, Mike became the first Flyer in team history to score a shorthanded goal in three consecutive games and the first NHL player to do so since Joe Sakic in 1998. He finished the season second in team scoring to Jeff Carter with 80 points to go with a league-leading 7 shorthanded goals.
Facing the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second consecutive year in the 2009 playoffs, Mike added 5 points in 6 games, but could not help the Flyers from being eliminated.
The next day, on April 29, 2009, it was revealed that Mike required surgery on both shoulders. He had reportedly felt discomfort since training camp and was on anti-inflammatory medication throughout the season.
Mike narrowly missed out on the Selke, which could have been Philadelphia's first individual player trophy since Eric Lindros won the Hart in 1995. Datsyuk won the vote 945-942 in the closest Selke Trophy race since its inception.
The 2009-10 season started successfully for Richards, scoring five goals in his first three games including his second career hat trick in the second period of the Flyers' home opener against the Washington Capitals on October 6, 2009.
Against the Florida Panthers on October 24, Mike delivered a shoulder hit to David Booth's head. Knocked unconscious, Booth fell awkwardly on his head and neck and had to be carried of the ice on a stretcher. Mike was given a game misconduct, but was not suspended by the NHL.
From the outset of the season, Mike was involved in an ongoing feud with the Philadelphia media. He issued a verbal boycott against the media in October of 2009 after he was asked if the trade of forward Joffrey Lupul to the Anaheim Ducks was the result of a partying lifestyle that many players on the team were accused of sharing.
Accusations of team players drinking and partying excessively continued throughout the season, specifically with Mike and Carter. As the team began to lose, Mike criticized the local media in an interview with The Hockey News for "throwing the team under the bus." He also told the Philadelphia Daily News that the drinking accusations were fabricated.
Following a loss to the Washington Capitals on January 17, 2010, Mike reportedly got into a verbal exchange with reporters outside the Flyers' locker room, telling them he was unhappy with how the team was being covered in the media.
On February 1, 2010, Mike scored his 100th career NHL goal. The Flyers barely scraped into the playoffs, winning in a shootout in their last game of the season to secure their place.
However, they then embarked on a remarkable run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, a run in which Richards cemented his captaincy and scored some important goals leading to renewed comparisons to Bobby Clarke which eventually ended in the Stanley Cup Finals when the Flyers lost 4-3 in OT of game 6 to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Mike scored 23 goals to go along with 43 assists during the 2010-11 NHL season as the Flyers earned the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference and played the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After eliminating the Sabres in 7 games, Mike and the Flyers were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in a 4 game sweep. He recorded one goal and six assists during the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings
Mike reacted to the major deal by saying, "“I was very shocked. At first I was shocked and then excited – I’m excited to move out to L.A. and be a part of a team that has a ton of great players. I’m just looking forward to helping them out.”
A Dan Gross article suggested that Richards' "hard-partying ways" influenced the Flyers' decision to trade Richards. However, Flyers' General manager Paul Holmgren stated that it was "preposterous" that partying had anything to do with the trade.
Jeff Carter was also traded, being sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Mike and Carter were reported traded due to their long contracts and to clear up cap space for Ilya Bryzgalov.
On October 15, 2011, Mike returned to Philadelphia and received a standing ovation from the crowd. He would assist on the winning goal, as the Kings won the game, 3-2.
Mike suffered a concussion and missed 8 games during the season. He was later reunited with Carter on February 23, 2012, upon Carter's trade to the Kings from the Blue Jackets.
On May 3, 2012, during Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals, Mike recorded his first career Gordie Howe hat trick when he got into a fight with Jamie Langenbrunner of the St. Louis Blues at 14:00 of the first period, scored a goal at 9:31 of the second, and recorded an assist at 11:48 of the third.
On June 11, 2012, Mike won the Stanley Cup with the Kings, recording four goals and eleven assists in 20 playoff games.
On June 13, 2014, he became a Stanley Cup champion for the second time when the Kings defeated the New York Rangers 3–2 in double overtime in Game 5.
On January 26, 2015, Mike was placed on waivers by the Kings.The next day, he cleared waivers and joined the Kings' AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs. After tallying 14 points in 16 games with the Monarchs, he was recalled by the Kings on March 22, 2015.
On June 29, 2015, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi announced that the club had exercised its right to terminate Mike's contract (which had five years remaining) for "a material breach of his Standard Player's Contract."
His twelve-year, $69 million contract (which he had signed in 2008 while he was captain of the Philadelphia Flyers) had $22 million remaining on it when it was terminated.
On August 10, 2015, it was announced that the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) had filed a grievance on behalf of Mike to contest the contract termination.
On October 9, 2015, the Kings announced they had reached a settlement with Mike, thus making him a free agent.
Regular season and playoffs
|2011–12||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||74||18||26||44||71||20||4||11||15||17|
|2012–13||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||48||12||20||32||42||15||3||9||12||8|
|2013–14||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||82||11||30||41||28||26||3||7||10||17|
|2014–15||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||53||5||11||16||39||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards & Achievements
- Memorial Cup championship (with the Kitchener Rangers) - 2003
- Memorial Cup All-Star Team - 2003
- OHL Second All-Star Team - 2005
- Stanley Cup championship (with the Los Angeles Kings) - 2011–12
- Calder Cup championship (with the Philadelphia Phantoms) - 2004–05
- Prince of Wales Trophy (with the Philadelphia Flyers) - 2010
- Clarence S. Campbell Bowl (with the Los Angeles Kings - 2012 Stanley Cup Finals)
- NHL All-Star Game - 2008
- Bobby Clarke Trophy (Philadelphia Flyers' MVP) - 2007–08, 2008–09
- Gene Hart Memorial Award (Philadelphia Flyers' fan favorite) - 2007–08
- World Junior gold medal - 2005
- Winter Olympic Gold Medal - Vancouver 2010
- NHL Record; most 5-on-3 shorthanded goals, career - 3
- Only player to hoist a Memorial Cup (Kitchener Rangers) Calder Cup (Philadelphia Phantoms) and Stanley Cup (Los Angeles Kings) as a player.
|Competitor for Canada|
|Olympic Winter Games|
|World Junior Championships|
|Gold||2005 United States|
Mike made his international debut with Team Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Finland. Despite a third period lead in the gold medal game, Canada lost to the United States 4–3.
The following year, Mike returned to the World Juniors as team captain and led Canada to its first gold medal at the tournament since 1997. He tallied 5 points in 6 games.
After Mike's rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers, he was chosen to his first senior tournament with Team Canada at the 2006 World Championships. He scored 5 points in 9 games, but Canada was defeated by Finland in the bronze medal game, failing to medal.
On December 30, 2009, Mike was selected to play as a member of Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Mike helped lead Team Canada to an 8–0 victory over Norway in the first game of the 2010 Olympic tournament by scoring one goal on February 17, 2010. He would go on to score a total of 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games with a +5 rating.
This includes an important assist on the first goal by the Canadians in the Gold Medal game where he forced a turnover, fired a shot and the rebound was put into the net by Jonathan Toews. The Canadians would win that game 3–2 in overtime giving him an Olympic gold medal.
Mike's parents are Norm and Irene. He has two brothers Mark and Matt. His cousin, Jeff Richards is also an OHL graduate who plays in Germany.
Mike recently appeared on "Making the Cut," a Canadian reality show about aspiring hockey players.
Growing up, Mike attended Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora until being drafted to the Kitchener Rangers at which point he attended Eastwood Collegiate Institute. He also played soccer in high school with Beaver Brae.
Mike also starred in an episode of "NHL 36" which followed him for 36 hours.
Mike is also good friends with Jeff Carter with whom he currently plays with the Kings and previously did with the Flyers.