The Flyers haven't played a game since May 6, but rumors surrounding Mike Richards and his captaincy continue to swirl.
Richards laid many of those rumors to rest in a May 23 interview with the South Jersey Courier-Post, saying he is the "right man for the job" and that his relationship with coach Peter Laviolette is "typical" between a coach and captain.
Shortly after the Flyers were swept from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins, Laviolette said his relationship with Richards, 26, was "a work in progress," leading to speculation that Richards might surrender his captaincy to 36-year-old veteran Chris Pronger.
Both players shot down those rumors in separate interviews.
"Yeah, it's something I want to keep, for sure," Richards said. "I've talked to players about it. If I didn't think I was the right guy for the job and it would benefit the team to give it back, I would do it a hundred percent. But I don't think that's the case. I think I'm a good captain."
Pronger, who was 23 when he became captain of the St. Louis Blues under Mike Keenan, was equally direct in his support of Richards.
"What good does that do?" he said of switching captains. "That is the most ridiculous thought I have heard yet. This is on-the-job training for Mike. I was brought in (two years ago) to help him be a captain and kind of help with my experiences.
"When I got here he was 24 and he's now 26. I think he's made some strides. Everybody does things their own way. I wasn't always this vocal with the media or this patient. It takes time."
On Feb. 10 the Flyers had won 13 of their last 16 games and were leading the NHL with a 36-13-5 record. Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won eight of those games and Brian Boucher won five, making many believe the Flyers had the perfect balance in goal.
Following a lackluster 4-1 loss in Ottawa on Feb. 26, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren blasted his team's effort and coach Peter Laviolette skated his players hard on three straight off days. The Flyers lost the next three games, including a 7-0 trouncing by the Rangers on March 6. That marked the beginning of a slide in which the Flyers won just seven of their final 21 games. "That week was probably harder than training camp and I think we rattled off three or four losses after that," Scott Hartnell said. "Would a couple days' rest been better for us? I don't know. There are a lot of 'ifs' now."
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