There they stood, in front of a screaming fan base, holding the Stanley Cup. It was the sight many Flyers fans wanted to see back in 2010.
Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, with grizzled playoff beards, passed Lord Stanley back and forth.
“It was a frustrating year, there were ups and downs, but this is one of the best groups I’ve ever been a part of,” said Richards. “The resiliency, the camaraderie that we had … It was awesome.”
Carter scored twice in the clincher, a 6-1 win over Jersey in Game 6. He finished with a playoff-leading eight goals.
“We worked real hard to get here,” he said. “It’s a pretty special moment.”
Both players were once the faces of the Flyers’ organization. They were given lucrative extensions and Richards was handed the prestigious captaincy. Then, they were sent packing by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren in a pair of blockbuster deals.
“I think we were both a little emotional, so it wasn’t a long conversation,” Richards said of his talk with Holmgren after the trade. “It was one I didn’t think I was ever going to have to do.”
Richards went directly to Los Angeles. Carter was sent to Columbus, but wound up in LA, thanks to some lobbying from Richards. Now, they are Stanley Cup champions.
“They’re awesome kids,” said former Flyers coach John Stevens, who is an assistant with the Kings. “To be able to win together, I know it’s really special to me.”
For Richards, there was no regret, only thanks for his former employer.
“They taught me how to be a winner,” he said.