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Carter and Richards Reunited at Last?

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Roughly two seasons ago, Flyers fans watched helplessly as Patrick Kane scored in the overtime of Game 6 in the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup finals.  That season may be best described as a miraculous run, starting with the Flyers battling for a playoff spot on the last day of the season, defeating the Rangers in a shootout.  The current Flyers hardly resemble the 2009-2010 team.  A season where Claude Giroux was not quite yet an NHL star and Jaromir Jagr was no where to be found in the NHL.  But not unlike this years team, those Flyers were led by two incredible offensive players.  Only the names were Jeff Carter, and Mike Richards.

During that 2009-10 regular season, Carter managed to produce 61 points (33 goals, 28 assists) and 7 (5 goals, 2 assists) in the playoffs.  And while Richards’ regular season 62 point total (31 goals, 31 assists) are almost identical to Carters’, the ex-captain of the Flyers posted an incredible 23 points in the playoffs (7 goals, 16 assists).  NHL fans, especially those who support the Flyers, may think back to the super-human effort Mike Richards exhibited in a goal he scored in the series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Up until the NHL trade deadline, this goal, and that entire post season, may have been all but a distant memory to Flyers fans in the midst of the on-going goal tending debacle.  As of last week, the once Flyer superstars, Carter and Richards, have been reunited on the Los Angeles Kings.  The trade between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Kings saw Columbus deal Carter for the high-caliber defense man Jack Johnson, and a conditional Kings first round pick.  “We never probably thought this would happen again – especially this quick – but obviously we’re both pleased.” said Carter after the trade was announced in a Saturday media session.

The 2011 NHL off-season saw Flyers GM Paul Holmgren ‘wheeling and dealing’ or so to speak.  Flyers fans were initially elated to see names like Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Jaromir Jagr, Max Talbot, and Iyla Bryzgalov to be added to their roster.  Only to bare the departure of two of the cities favorites – Carter and Richards.  In hindsight, Holmgren knew exactly what he was doing (excluding the Bryzgalov signing).  The 2011-12 NHL season has not been kind to either Carter or Richards.  Carter was only able to muster up 25 points with the Blue Jackets (not to mention a miserable -11), and has had to deal with numerous injuries.  And while Richards has performed slightly better with the Kings at 31 points, it is safe to say neither of the two have lived up to expectations.

Much like the Bryzgalov goal tending conundrum, the stagnant Los Angeles Kings offense has puzzled analysts and experts all season long.  Coming into the season, the Kings were being proclaimed a possible offensive powerhouse with names like Kopitar, Williams, Stoll, Penner, Gagne, and of course Richards.  But 62 games into the regular season, the Kings find themselves ranked dead last in the NHL in terms of goals per game at a pitiful 2.08.  Despite this, the Kings are on the cusp of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and now look to the once dynamic duo of Carter and Richards to ignite the scoring.

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