Mike Richards is a “big believer” in the idea that everything happens for a reason. That’s the philosophy he took with him at the start of his journey with the AHL Manchester Monarchs. The storybook ending to that would be him returning to Los Angeles with renewed confidence and go on to play a key role in the team making the playoffs.
Whether his return will follow that particular narrative remains to be seen, but for now he can be happy knowing that at least he’s officially recalled.
“It’s like being back with your family again,” Richards told the Los Angeles Times.
The 30-year-old forward admitted to being initially “discouraged” when he was sent to the minors, but as he promised he made the most of his time there, scoring three goals and 14 points in 16 contests.
“They’ve got a good group of guys in Manchester, which made it easier,” Richards said. “I think the biggest thing is the not knowing. I’m not very good at that, with anything, not knowing where I’m going to be or what is next. That was the hardest part for me — when it was going to happen or if it was going to happen.”
After all, the circumstances for his departure were bleak. The former 80-point scorer was averaging 13:41 minutes per game and recorded just five goals and 10 assists in 47 contests. He was put on waivers before being sent to the minors, but no one wanted the remainder of his 12-year, $69 million deal.
That had to sting, but he’s got another chance to show he’s still capable of making significant contributions at this level.