Flyers captain Mike Richards is currently in his hometown of Kenora, Ontario rehabbing from shoulder surgery and getting ready for Canadian Olympic orientation.
Here's what Mike had to say.
RS: Like the beginning of every season, some players have left the Flyers and some have joined. With the NHL Entry Draft over and the bulk of free agency finished, heading into training camp how do you feel this year’s team ranks with the other Flyers teams you have been a part of?
MR: I feel that we have become a lot stronger since we added some key pieces to the team. Though we did lose a few key players, I believe with the players we’ve added this offseason we still can and will be a competitive team this upcoming season.
RS: The Flyers, and arguably the NHL’s, biggest transaction this offseason to date has been the Chris Pronger trade. What are you most excited about in having Pronger as a teammate?
MR: I’m very excited to have his leadership and his skill on our team. We were all very excited to hear that he was coming. Chris will be a great asset to our team and for many years to come. I’m excited to start playing with him and get the season started.
RS: Another splash the Flyers made this offseason was signing goaltender Ray Emery. Emery will be the third Flyers goaltender in five seasons you have been with the club (after this year). What are your thoughts on Emery and would you like to see the Flyers have a goalie that is here to stay for at least 5-6 seasons? Since Ron Hextall retired, the Flyers have had a number of goalies (Esche, Hackett, Cechmanek, Snow, etc)
MR: I think goaltending is always a thing a team needs and we defiantly found a good fit for our team. I think Ray would take our team to the next level and he is capable of doing that.
RS: For the most part of last season, you centered a line with Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble. With the departure of Knuble to Washington, who do you see yourself paired with this season?
MR: That is something that John Stevens will address, no one really knows who their playing with until the beginning of the season. It’s hard to replace someone like Knubs in our line-up due to the fact that he played an important role on our team.
RS: Speaking of Knuble, some other notable Flyers who are gone from last season are Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, Antero Niittymaki, and most likely, Martin Biron. Was it tough to see these guys who have been part of most of your NHL career leave Philadelphia?
MR: It was tough to see all of them go; they were good assets to our team. I was close to all of them, they are all good hockey players and I wish them luck at their new home.
RS: What were your initial thoughts when you learned you would be playing a hockey game at Fenway Park?
MR: I am so excited to be playing at Fenway. I am a huge Red Sox fan. It will be a good experience for everyone and I am looking forward to New Years Day.
RS: Where would you like to see improvement, if any, on the ice as a team?
MR: I don’t really see anywhere where we need to improve. I think everyone is working hard towards one goal and that is the Stanley Cup. All hockey players are willing to push themselves to get to that point. With the type of team we have, I feel as if we can compete with the Penguins and Red Wings which should make for a good season.
RS: What have you been up too this summer?
MR: I did get my shoulder surgery in the beginning of the summer, so I am rehabbing but will be ready come training camp. I did spend a few days in Las Vegas and have been at the shore a few times spending time with my friends. I will be headed to Calgary at the end of August for the Canadian Olympic orientation camp which should be exciting for me to be a part of.
The Flyers will open training camp at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey on Saturday, Sept. 12 and will begin a seven game preseason schedule beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at Joe Louis Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.
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