NEW YORK -- However controversial the signing of Mike Richards may be around the NHL, it’s not viewed that way by the Capitals.
After the Capitals’ 4-1 win over the New York Islanders at Barclays Center, players applauded Richards’ addition, and weren’t at all worried about his troubled past.
“You always respect, admire, have a lot of loyalty for people you win with,” Justin Williams said.
Williams captured two Stanley Cups as a teammate of Richards with the Los Angeles Kings.
“He’s a guy that I’ve won with and a guy that I respect and I guy that I know can bring another element of calmness to this team,” Williams said. “A guy who’s when he’s on his game can have a big impact on the game.”
General Manager Brian MacLellan said that he relied on Williams’ take of his former teammate, and the words he got back were positive.
“I played with Mike for a long time…a few years and enough to get to know him real well,” Williams said.
“Mike’s ego obviously took a big hit in the last few years. He’s open to write a good script to this, and I know he can be a very impactful player, and I want him to be, and it looks like he’s going to get a chance to be.”
Richards’ addition didn’t concern Alex Ovechkin.
“Experience. I’ve played against him all the time. Tough center. Good faceoff man. He can play power play as well,” Ovechkin said. “That’s what we need.”
Ovechkin likes that there wasn’t a trade needed to acquire Richards.
“We didn’t give up anyone. It’s a good piece for our team,” Ovechkin said.
Nate Schmidt had no hesitation, either about Richards.
“A proven guy, a guy who’s won pretty much at every level he’s ever played at. He’s been around for a few days, and he’s already integrated into our team really well,” Schmidt said.
“Whenever you can add more experience, playoff experience, Stanley Cup experience on your team, the better off you’ll be.”
The 34-year-old Williams urged Richards, who is nearly four years younger, to join the Capitals.
“I told him, he’d be an idiot if they offered him something, and he didn’t come here. This is a heck of a team. We’ve got a heck of a chance to win, and at our age, Mike and I, that’s what you want. There’s a lot of teams that say it, but we can say it and actually mean it,” Williams said.