Richards ready to kick back

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Michael Richards figures it's about time to head home to Kenora and put his line in the water.

"I have to go home and catch some fish," Richards said. "It's walleye season."

HECK OF A RUN

With the way good things have been happening to Richards the past couple of years, it would not be a shock if he catches the biggest walleye on record. Just 20, Richards completed an impressive trifecta in hockey last Friday night when the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms won the Calder Cup. Richards, who joined the Phantoms in May when his Kitchener Rangers were eliminated from the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, was captain of Canada when it won gold at the world junior this past winter. Two years ago, Richards won the Memorial Cup with the Rangers.

"The past couple of years have been a dream," Richards said. "It's going to be nice to get some time off and relax. I think all of this will sink in (during) the next couple of weeks."

Richards was a first-round pick of the Phantoms' parent club, the Flyers, in 2003 and was with the AHL side on an amateur tryout contract. Once the NHL lockout ends, one of the first tasks of Flyers general manager Bob Clarke will be to sign Richards, the top two-way player in the game at his age, and fellow 2003 first-rounder Jeff Carter.

Both centres were instrumental in the Phantoms' title run and are expected to have long and productive NHL careers with the Flyers, as long as they don't wind up on the open market as a result of possible new guidelines in the coming collective bargaining agreement.


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