By Lindsay Kramer
When they first met in 2001, former ECHL All-Star Dave Gove came to know Todd Richards as “Moose.’’That was Richards’ nickname. Gove was a rookie forward on the Orlando Solar Bears of the IHL, and Richards was a veteran defenseman. Orlando won the IHL’s Turner Cup that season.
“I sat next to him in the locker room. He was always talking to me. I remember him being a key guy in the locker room,’’ said Gove, who was fresh out of Western Michigan University at the time.
Richards still is, and now might be arguably the most key guy in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton room. These days, Gove knows him as simply “coach.’’ As in, the bench boss of the Penguins.
And Gove is hoping their chemistry, although somewhat altered now, has the same type of payoff. The Penguins have marched their way to the Calder Cup finals against Chicago, in large part because Gove has once again found Richards’ leadership conducive to winning. After joining the Penguins in a mid-season trade from Albany, Gove produced 15 goals and seven assists in 36 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has three goals and six assists in 17 playoff games.
“I felt comfortable coming in with him as a coach. That made my adjustment period easier,’’ Gove said. “It’s pretty funny, full circle, how things work out.’’
In his first full professional season in 2001-02, Gove was selected to the ECHL All-Star Game and scored 49 points (17g-32a) in 54 regular season games and four points (1g-3a) in eight Kelly Cup Playoff games with Johnstown and six points (2g-4a) in 17 regular season games with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.