Life is good for Kings’ center Mike Richards and winger Jeff Carter.
The former Flyers are two wins away from winning the Cup nearly a full year after they were dealt to Columbus and Los Angeles in separate deals last June. The two players had signed extended deals with Philadelphia, believing that the franchise was going to be built around them.
But the Flyers’ organization decided to rebuild the team following a second-round sweep by Boston last year.
“Well, it was obviously a tough situation for us leaving Philly. We loved it there. We loved our time. We signed long deals to potentially finish our careers there,” Carter said after the Kings’ practice Sunday.
The Flyers agreed to a 12-year, $69-million contract with Richards in 2008, while Carter signed an 11-year, $58-million extension last season.
Then the two were shipped out the day before the 2011 draft.
“It was a tough situation. We had a lot of thinking to do. Took a little while to get over that. It’s funny how things work out. We’re both in L.A. now, two wins away from the Stanley Cup. Couldn’t be happier,” Carter said.
“It wasn’t an easy situation, obviously. Being in Philly for six years, all you do there is win, right? That’s really all you know. They teach you the right way there,” Carter said of the trade to Columbus.
The three-time 30-goal scorer was expected to be a panacea for a team that had Rick Nash and not much else. Instead, he had 25 points (15 goals and 10 assists) and a minus-11 rating in 39 games before being traded to the Kings on Feb. 23.
“Going to Columbus, it was a team that was struggling. Obviously there were some expectations going into the season. Things didn’t work out the way everybody had hoped,” Carter said. “I’m happy where I’m at now.”
Thomas taking time off
Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas confirmed on his Facebook page Sunday afternoon that he was going to take the 2012-13 season off in order to “reconnect with the three ‘F’s’: Friends, Family, and Faith.
“This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year.”
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters Friday that the organization was preparing “under the premise there is a strong possibility of him taking the year off. We’d have to go about our business without Tim Thomas for the year.”
Thomas compiled a 35-19-1 record in 59 regular season game for the Bruins in 2011-12. He was 10th in the league in save percentage (.920) and shutouts (five), and ranked 12th in goals against average (2.36). Thomas started in all seven games of the Bruins’ Eastern Conference quarterfinal loss to Washington. He went 3-4 with a .923 save percentage, 2.14 goals against and a shutout.
Thomas is in the last year of a four-year, $20-million contract. He is due to make $3 million this season.
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman throughout the Stanley Cup final.