Carter, Richards face their old team - the Flyers

Jeff Carter (left) and Mike Richards hoist the Stanley Cup they won with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, a year after being traded.
Jeff Carter (left) and Mike Richards hoist the Stanley Cup they won with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, a year after being traded. (Getty Images)
Posted: February 02, 2014

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Jeff Carter and Mike Richards say they have both moved way beyond the Day That Shook the Flyers Franchise to the Core.

The star forwards and best friends were the faces of the Flyers - Carter as a 30-to-40 goal scorer, Richards as the captain who played both ends of the ice with equal tenacity - when they were dealt in separate trades on June 23, 2011.

They eventually became teammates in Los Angeles, won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012, and Saturday afternoon will face the visiting Flyers together for the first time since the monumental deals.

"It's always fun playing against your old team," said Carter, who was dealt from the Flyers to Columbus for Jake Voracek and draft picks that turned out to be Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins. "I have a lot of good memories and met a lot of good people there."

Carter, 29, has never faced the Flyers, the team that selected him No. 1 (11th overall) in the 2003 draft, 13 spots before they chose Richards.

"I obviously looked at it when the schedule came out. . ..but it's just another game," he said. "It's a big game for us; we've been throwing away some points, and we need to get a big win."

"It's exciting to see everybody," said Richards, who spent a lot of time talking with ex-teammate Scott Hartnell before the Flyers practiced at the same facility Friday. "I still have some friends over there, but it's just another game."

Just five Flyers remain from when Carter and Richards were last with the team: Hartnell, Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Andrej Meszaros.

"We were in here actually looking at the roster this morning, and it's only been 2½ years . . . and it's quite the turnover," Richards said.

Carter leads the offensively challenged Kings - who have lost seven of their last eight games (1-6-1) - with 20 goals, and he has 34 points. Richards has just seven goals and 35 points.

Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, acquired for Richards, have combined for 31 goals.

Richards, who turns 29 on Feb. 11, said he put the trade behind him after he nervously faced the Flyers in an early-season game at the Wells Fargo Center in 2011-12.

Carter was upset by the deal at first and not happy in Columbus; he was later dealt to the Kings for Jack Johnson and a No. 1 pick.

"It happened three years ago and I moved on pretty quick," he said. "... Tough start [in Columbus], but I was happy to get the opportunity to come here, and obviously things worked out. It's a great situation here. Great team, great coaches, great staff. It's a great place to live and a great place to play hockey, so it's been a lot of fun."

Like Kings assistant John Stevens, who formerly coached the Flyers, Carter also has a place in Sea Isle City, N.J., so he still feels connected to the Philadelphia area.

"I love going back there; my girlfriend is from that area, so it's nice for her to go back and see her friends, and I still have a lot of friends there," said Carter, who also owns a beach house in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Carter called it a "huge honor" to be chosen for Team Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Russia, and said he has "worked hard over the last three years to put myself in this position."

"There are a lot of guys that aren't there that could have been there," Carter said. "I wouldn't want to be the guy picking that team."

Richards, who helped Canada win gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, was bypassed for the team this time around.

"To be honest, I don't think I deserve to be there - and he does," he said, referring to Carter. "I was happy for him. He's made for that ice surface."

Richards has adapted to the Southern California lifestyle.

"It's sunshine every day," he said. "But I still miss Philly. I still have a lot of friends there. I talk to a lot of people back there and still love the city. There's different things you like {about L.A.] and different things you still wish you were in Philly for."

Richards said winning the Cup with Carter as his teammate was special, but "obviously not the city we envisioned" representing as champions. "But I think everything happens for a reason, and you almost get that hunger for it even more after you win."


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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