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Ms. CB and I picked up two tickets on this fancy little “make your best offer” ticket platform that our friends at TiqIQ brought to our attention. We were in sec. 113, row 15. That’s center ice, in the center of the section, for $80 a pop– less than half of face value.

We settled into our seats around 6:30, just after the conclusion of the pre-game skate. I had on my now-useless Mike Richards Flyers jersey and Ms. CB rocked, what else, a Claude Giroux t-shirt.

I truly had no idea how this was going to play out. The wounds from the knife Paul Holmgren jammed into Richie’s back were still fresh, so an oh hey we love you here’s a pre-game tribute video was probably out of the question. However, Richie was a Flyer for six years, their captain, built up to be the next Bobby Clarke, and took the team to within three periods of winning the Stanley Cup– you can’t not acknowledge that.

Richards, predictably, started at center for the Kings, affording an opportunity for this brief cheer:

I don't think it would have killed Lou Nolan to add a little Dan Baker-like inflection there, but whatevs.

That was followed by the Flyers' excellent new (not sure if it was played during the preseason) Chemistry video, which pretty much says, “Yeah, we got rid of the assholes.” Watch it:

Jesus, that last line should have included the footnote, “Don’t worry, Homer went through the roster like a quality control supervisor at Lindt and removed the imperfection who’s about to take the ice wearing #10 for the Kings.”

It’s all about chemistry, baby.

Last year, when Simon Gagne (decade of service) made his first return to Philadelphia, he was given this tribute during a TV timeout. Total time? 1:15. Classy.

Sort of what I expected for Richie, albeit perhaps a bit more watered down. Instead, he got the we just ripped the heart out of and traded away the guy we built up and financially committed to for our future but he was sort of a whiny dick when he was here so here’s a “thank you” slide to appease the fans tribute. Total time? 0:15.

As expected, Richie got the ovation. Then, thanks in part to a spirited first five minutes of play, he was booed lustily. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the welcome back cheer turn to boos so quickly for an ex-Philly athlete. Pat Burrell got it, but he hit a home run to firmly cement himself as “the heel"– Richie simply skated up the side boards. It was almost as if we all acknowledged his years of service and then decided to let out our pent-up frustrations over his petulant attitude, partying, prickly personality… and those locker room Rednex caps (he wore a Kings hat post-game last night).

Chris Pronger may have put it best: [quotes courtesy of the Flyers]

“Obviously yeah.  He spent six years here and was the face of the franchise.  So whenever you have a guy like that and get rid of him and he comes back to the team there’s bound to be some sort of extra buzz in the air.  The crowds happy to get another chance to see him, even if it’s with another team, and I think the fans showed their appreciation and then got over it quickly."


Richie heard the initial cheers:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s tough. Once the puck is dropped, you focus so much on the game and what you’re doing out there and you can’t be distracted for a second, or that’s when bad things happen. (Inaudible) I did notice it a little bit, it was nice, but at the same time, I’m just worrying about winning the face off and not getting killed out there.”


Perhaps it was because I was sitting closer than I normally do, but you quickly realize what a prick Richards is to play against. He was getting on my nerves before the second TV timeout. Before all was said and done, he complained to the refs (almost every time on the ice), barked at Zac Rinadlo and Wayne Simmonds (whom he was allegedly out with Thursday night), leveled Jakub Voracek (that was for Jeff), and assisted on the winning goal in overtime.

How was there not a camera trained on Homer’s face in OT?! I’d imagine his reaction looked something like a cross between when you see an old naked guy at the gym and bitter beer face.

You got some in your eye, Paul.

Kings 3, Flyers 2.

*The dig at Homer aside, the Flyers continue to look very good, showing balance, depth, and speed. No shame in seven points in four games.