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Mike Richards taking the high road against Kings

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Mike Richards taking the high road against Kings

Back in 2009, when he was the 24-year-old captain of the Flyers, Mike Richards boycotted the Philadelphia media, refusing to provide more than one- or two-word answers to post-game questions.

Apparently, it was a stance against reporters who questioned the off-ice habits of Richards and teammate Jeff Carter, who will face each other for just the third time in their careers tonight at Verizon Center when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Capitals.

Today, at the age of 31, Richards has gone out of his way to bob and weave questions about Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who four months ago compared his relationship with Richards to a husband whose wife had cheated on him in a written summation provided to the Los Angeles Times.

“I didn’t make anything of it,” Richards said. “People that know me know I'm not out to make headlines or anything. I couldn’t care less.

“No offense, but if I never get interviewed again… I don’t go looking for interviews like some people might. I think he obviously wanted to get his … whatever out there, and he went and sought that. I'm the type of guy that kind of shies away from that stuff and I don’t have any need to comment on it.

“You’d have to ask him. I’m the wrong guy to ask.”

Richards said he experienced “way more highs than lows” in his four seasons with the Kings and is happy with his decision to sign with the Capitals, saying the scouting report Justin Williams gave him was completely accurate.

“He was pretty bang-on with everything,” Richards said. “Obviously, a good team, their record (40-10-4) kind of stands for itself. But just the group of guys … he was bang-on with the atmosphere, the dressing room, how everyone enjoys to be around each other and just how much fun it is to come to the rink every morning.

“He told me it was one of his most enjoyable years as a pro and that says a lot for him, he’s been in the league for 15 years now. It’s lived up to everything and more. It’s been great.”

Richards says these 2015-16 Capitals have many of the same qualities as the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup champion Kings.

“It’s a fun group,” he said. “When we’re in the gym working out or on the plane I think everyone enjoys being at the rink and around each other. When you have a group like that it’s easy to come to the rink and play hard for each other.

“I think that might get overlooked when you’re putting together a team, but you see championship teams, you can talk to anybody and that’s what they have. Guys who love going to the rink and being together. When you do that you play so much harder for each other.

Statistically, Richards’ first 11 games as a Capital have been underwhelming. Still looking for his first point, he has just six shots, is a minus-1 and has won 55 percent of his faceoffs while averaging 12 minutes a game.

“It’d be nice to contribute offensively,” he said. “I didn’t expect to come in here and just light the lamp every game but I also expected to probably contribute a little bit more. It’s frustrating not getting the success but I think in the last three or four games I’ve been getting a lot more chances and making a lot more plays, so it’ll come eventually. Hopefully sooner than later, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little frustrating.”

Williams, 34, said he’ll be excited to face the Kings for the first time in seven years but maybe not as much as Richards.

“I think maybe Richie will have a few different feelings,” Williams said. “Obviously, we had a lot of success there, but his falling out was a lot different than mine. I’m sure he’ll have a big growl and big will to win that game as well.”

MORE CAPITALS: Mr. Game 7 jacked to play against former team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.

RELATED: USA WOMEN WIN GOLD OVER RIVAL CANADA

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S UPDATED CAPS’ PROSPECT RANKINGS HERE

Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.