Capitals Mike Richards isn't taking his second chance for granted

nhl mike richards washington capitals

After being signed by the Washington Capitals to a 1-year, $1M contract on Wednesday and missing half of the season, Mike Richards believes he'll have to adjust to the speed of the game. Richards said:

Watching hockey at home and being away from it. I think you just take for granted playing and being in the NHL. I played for 10 years and you almost take it for granted going to the rink every day, but when you don't have that opportunity, it weighs on you. So, it's nice to be back.

Richards was a free agent after the Los Angeles Kings bought out the remaining five years of his contract last summer following his arrest at a Canadian border crossing in June on charges of possession of a controlled substance.

It's a privilege to play in the NHL and not everyone gets to do it. It's no fun being 30 years old and sitting on the couch and not having much to do. It's exciting to be back here. Fortunate and thank the Capitals for taking a chance on me and hopefully I can do some good things.

He met with the NHL on Wednesday and was cleared to resume his career immediately, but his legal case in Canada will continue with a hearing scheduled for January 28th. Capitals Senior Vice-President and General Manager Brian MacLellan said with his team looking for depth, he had been eyeing Richards' situation since the summer and kept in touch with his agent.

MacLellan said he was aware of the critical comments Kings GM Dean Lombardi had for Richards last summer. MacLellan and coach Barry Trotz met with Richards in Toronto in November to gauge his mindset. MacLellan said.:

Felt a good comfort level from there. There's always two sides to a story. We listened to (Mike's) side and [....] we were comfortable with what Mike expressed to us about the situation.

Richards also has a familiar face on the ice in former Kings teammate Justin Williams, who signed with Washington in the off-season.

It's nice to have a familiar face in Justin and we have gone through a lot together and have had success, became pretty good friends over the last couple of years, too. We've talked a lot the last month. I kept him in the loop and he's kept me in the loop.

Overall, Richards has 179 goals and 303 assists in 710 regular-season games. He also won a gold medal with Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

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