Upon further review, and the helpful distance of about three months, Kings center Mike Richards considered the wisdom of taking on someone about six inches taller and 35 pounds heavier.

That would be a certain Phoenix Coyotes forward named Martin Hanzal.

"I don't know what I was thinking," Richards said Thursday, chuckling about their scrap in a fight-filled game between the Kings and Coyotes at Staples Center in February. "Defense."

Survival, perhaps?

Anyhow, there will be a rematch … and no rematch.

The Kings open the Western Conference finals at Phoenix with Game 1 on Sunday at 5 p.m., and it is highly doubtful there will be Richards vs. Hanzal, Part II.

Then again, little has gone according to form or plan during this wildly unpredictable playoff spring. Not many would have predicted a few months ago that Richards and his linemate Jeff Carter would be the ones playing for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals, not the Philadelphia Flyers.

Exile in Los Angeles never looked quite so good.

On the same day Richards was chatting with several reporters after the Kings' practice, his former teammates in Philadelphia were busy having exit meetings, deconstructing their playoff loss to the New Jersey Devils and talking about the future.