On Monday, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called it a "witch hunt." On Tuesday, general manager Paul Holmgren called it "a bunch of crap." The daily saga over whether Mike Richards should retain his captaincy in the wake of the Flyers' disappointing four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will take a day off today while the 26-year-old center undergoes surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist. Holmgren staunchly defended Richards on Tuesday, saying he has no plans of stripping him of captaincy or in trading him before his no-movement clause kicks in on July 1, 2012. "I think Mike Richards is a good captain for our team," Holmgren said. "I think he's a tremendous player in our league and, trust me, there are 29 other teams that would love to have Mike Richards." On Monday, Laviolette told reporters his relationship with Richards is a "work in progress" and on Tuesday Holmgren acknowledged Richards is not the world's best communicator. But that, he said, does not make him a bad captain. "I don't know where it's all coming from," Holmgren said. "You guys all know Mike. He's a quiet kid, he's a reserved kid. "He's a hard guy to talk to sometimes for anyone, probably even his closest friends. He's just a quiet guy, but there is no issue in terms of Mike's relationship with Peter, or Mike's relationship with any of his teammates. That's all a bunch of crap. I don't know why it keeps coming up, but it's ridiculous." After leading the Flyers in scoring last year with 31 goals and 62 points, Richards finished fourth on the club in scoring this season with 23 goals and 66 points. He struggled down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, scoring just three goals in his final 13 games of the regular season and just one in 11 playoff games. "I think anytime you have a player dealing with an injury,that affects his play to some degree," Holmgren said. "Mike's a competitive kid. He wants to play in all situations. He wants to play a certain style he's used to playing, and I'm sure the injury affected him. It hasn't kept him out of the lineup, but I think it's affected his performance in the faceoff circle. I think it's affected his shot to some degree."
Flyers defend captain Richards
Courier-Post | May 11