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Richards made a healthy scratch for Game 4

May 23, 2013, 11:36 AM EDT

Brad Richards AP

Brad Richards will be a healthy scratch tonight when his New York Rangers face elimination at Madison Square Garden versus the Boston Bruins.

Richards — he of the nine-year, $60 million contract signed less than two years ago — told reporters that New York head coach John Tortorella called him this morning with the news he wasn’t playing.

Skating on the fourth line, Richards, 33, played just 8:10 during Tuesday’s Game 3 loss at MSG. That compares to the 22:14 he played in Game 1 of the first round versus Washington.

In 10 playoff games, Richards has one goal and no assists.

If you’re curious — and lots of people are — a Richards buyout would cost the Rangers $24 million spread over 14 years.

  1. govtminion - May 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Wow. That’s… wow.

    If they win Game 4, Torts looks like a genius for this… if they lose tonight, he’s going to get drawn and quartered. All Rangers management has to do is point at this article for a reason to can him if this doesn’t go right.

    Still… credit to him for taking a huge risk tonight to try to get one of his (on paper) best players up to standards. Sometimes it works- it seems to have helped get Lucic going, for example. Big risk here, kind of impressed he’s doing it.

    • bekay19 - May 23, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      I am not a big fan of Torterlla but Richards sucks!! If anything Ranger’s management should be upset he did not do this sooner

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        Richards didn’t suck before he got Tortorella’d. I’d like to see him in a jersey that is not blue and red – in a more offensive system.

        I am of the mind this is Torts’ last season…he’s not going to get his team there with his system, his habit of bashing and bbq’ing his own players, or his mind-set.

      • onearmdragon - May 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Torts coached Richards in TB for a cup. It’s not the system, or Torts not knowing how to use Richards.

        Richards is done. And every team (Toronto) that lost out on signing him (what 2 years ago) for 9 years and 60 million, should thank the Rangers ofr again outbidding everyone to a player they must now buy out.

        Maybe this condensed season just exposed a slow player, who has steadily gotten slower each year. Maybe those concussions in Dallas have had a bigger effect than thought. It seems to me that it can take more than a year to recover, assuming no new concussions/injuries to head/neck (Bergeron, or Horton).

        Or perhaps the big market excuse fits? Tampa and Dallas aren;t exactly NY, Toronto or Boston style markets.

      • blackfoot11 - May 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        Agreed @hockeywithdrawl, Richards last four years has yeiled 25+ goals and 40+ assists, while posting 15 points in the last two years of post-season play. The guy is just having a bad year in this shortened season. I’d say give him another year, as he has shown to be productive in full seasons. However, its obvious Torts has soured on him after many changes, and scratching him out of the line-up speaks volumes to a potential buyout.

      • stakex - May 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM


        Yeah, not sure what you are talking about Richards getting “Tortorella’d”. The guy won a Conn Smyth with Torts as his coach.

        People need to realize that the Rangers just have a bad mix of guys right now. Last year they had a complete team that fired on all cylinders, and it hasn’t been the same since they made significant offseason changes to get Nash. Chemistry on a team is a real thing, and the Rangers simply don’t have it this year… and its actually amazing they got this far without it.

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        Please…Yes, Tortorella did have a few (A FEW) good years in TB, before he scared everyone off there and was replaced. Starting goalie left, then Torts ran the back-up out of town, the guy is a first class d-bag. His track record even in TB speaks to the problems he has in NY. I’m very, very surprised they got Nash to sign there, but honestly after the treatment of Richards/Gaborik and the way he’s talking smack on his players to the press, I’d be surprised if there are many more UFA’s of that caliber to go there on their own.

        The argument that one of these is making is that Tortorella doesn’t suck, and Richards does, because Richards won the Conn Smythe…are you serious about that argument???

  2. hockey003 - May 23, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    It’s about freaking time!

    Tortorella is still showing his ignorance. NOW, Richards is a healthy scratch, but how much powerplay time has he given him throughout the playoffs.

    For those keeping score at home, here’s Tortorella’s NYR playoff resume.
    2009 – Idiot has a 3-1 series lead over the Caps and he selfishly puts his “brand” on the team by benching Avery, screwing up chemistry and they lose 4-3.
    2010 – No playoffs
    2011 – Idiot gets himself suspended for throwing soda on a fan in Washington.
    2012 – Idiot overplays his players to the point of exhaustion and they lose in 6 to a much less talented Devils team.

    If Tortorella didn’t have Lundqvist, he would have been fired years ago and now the Rangers are at the mercy of praying Lundqvist stays after next season or the whole organization is screwed.

    Thanks for nothing Torts – now go home or anywhere other than 33rd St. and 7th avenue and take your psychotic, boring style with you. He would have turned Gretzky into a 10 goal scorer.

    • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 23, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Interesting point. Henry is already making nearly 7 million a season and his contract is up after next year. There’s no way he’s gonna sign for anything less than 8 Million a year. That, and Stepan and McDonagh are going to need a significant raise if the Rangers want to avoid arbitration in the offseason. When their offseason begins tonight, it should be quite interesting.

  3. billyhauntswizards - May 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM


  4. tfaltin - May 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Well, this has worked out. James Dolan must be so happy to see one of his huge investments in a suit tonight. Richards has gotten older, but I think it’s Torts that gave him grey hairs. NASCAR pit crews can’t match the speed with which the wheels have fallen off this Rangers team.

    • tfaltin - May 23, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      How many blocked shots = a goal again?

      • 19to77 - May 23, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Right? It’s like Torts genuinely thinks if his team racks up enough blocks he can go over to the ref and ask to trade them in for a goal. I’m sure Richards, Nash, Hagelin and everyone else who’s “underperforming” could score if they were allowed a little offensive creativity and if their power play strategies didn’t utterly suck. Coaching is the weak point on this otherwise good team.

    • stakex - May 23, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      First of all, Dolan doesn’t give a damn about the Rangers or their multi-million dollar failures. If he did, Sather would have been fired a decade ago. Don’t forget, Sather makes those deals… not Torts.

      I also love how people are talking like the Rangers finished dead last or something. Yeah the Rangers are on the verge of getting swept in the second round, but they still made it to the second round with a team thats playing very so-so.

      • tfaltin - May 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        I know you’re a very informed and well spoken Ranger fan, and I definitely see your points. However, with regard to Dolan, even if you don’t care that much, nobody wants to see their investments be wasted. As for Sather, I think he’s built what should be an elite team in the NHL. From the net out, I commend his work. The way the roster is built, to me, is great. Skill up front from homegrown kids, defensive depth, elite goaltending, and supplemented by free agent stars.

        As for expectations, I want to win a Cup. Last year we had a stellar season. This year we’ve regressed, and that cannot be ignored. Yes we won a first round series because the Caps played game 7 like we’ve played this series. What I don’t tolerate as a fan is a lack of effort or passion. Last year, the Rangers worked all game, every game, and eventually that was the reason they fell to the Devils. They had to work too hard every night and got gassed. That hasn’t been there this season. We’re trending in the wrong direction and need a change. I also will not stand for the kind of comments Torts has made about players publicly. A coach should motivate his players and coach them when they need to improve, not indict them.

      • jkay1818 - May 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        You are wrong with that assessment.
        Sather is one of the greatest GM’s and coaches of all time, he was the architect of those great Edmonton teams and produced some of the greatest players ever. He did that with pennies and little to no money. He then joined the NYR with more money than God and a chance to make a splash. Per Dolan that’s what he made him do, spend and make a splash. At one pt they had Kovalev back in NY, Bure (who did avg a goal a game) Jagr, Lindros…etc. You mean to tell me when all this was going down NYR fans were complaining? Also, if you look at the guys they gave up, they gave up no one. we arent looking back now and saying, wow, i cannot believe we gave up so and so. A few yrs later this plan wasn’t working and Sather put his foot down, he finally did it his way, via the draft and scouting. Sure Gomez and Drury were bad deals but Drury was a good leader who eventually injured his way out of the league. The gomez deal sather flipped and received Mcdonagh and Higgins. He also shed gomez’s salary allowing the rangers to sign Gaborik. It could have been any GM, dolan was high on Gomez. Sather also brought in callahan, girardi, traded up for staal, lundqvist, del zotto, kreider, dubinsky, anisimov, sauer, hagelin and other good prospects. He also flipped some deals and ended up bringing in guys like Prust. Who is a huge reason the NYR aren’t the same, that isnt sathers fault MTL paid him a kings ransom. To even mention Nash and how he ruined chemistry is absurd. The guy is a beast and in his 20’s still. He is one of the main reasons the NYR mad the playoffs. Anisimov was due for a raise, and he was relegated to the 4th line of last yr’s playoffs, he did nothing. Dubsinky can’t stay healthy and is way overpaid, he had one goal all season. I know he brings other things to the table, but we didn’t give up some superstar, he played i think only 1 game in last yr’s run as well. Tortorella and Sullivan having Nash set up on the end boards on the PP when he’s a sniper is Sather’s fault? Any moron knows he should be at the circles ready to be set up. Leaving Richards on the PP all season when he has been slow and his shot can’t even break a pain of glass is sather’s fault? most of their woes comes down to coaching and the NYR simply not responding to him anymore. I am a huge rangers fan and at times a homer, but come on, even im exhausted by this guy. They refuse to play for him. People say they are still in renney’s D system, thats bull. They scored more goals with less talent. Jagr carried a huge bulk of it, but prospal excelled, straka,etc.

      • jkay1818 - May 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        Also, Dolan doesn’t care? i know the knicks play at the garden as well, but they just dumped a boatload of money into renovations and made that place amazing. It wasn’t really at the fans expense either. My ticket prices went up very minimally.
        also, Dolan SR is a HUGE HUGE Rangers fan, they aren’t some team left by the wayside.

  5. bobhpine - May 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Since Tortorella has coached the Rangers, their power play averages 28th in the league.

    They have offensively talented players, but they never score.

    Maybe it’s not them, maybe it’s you Torts.

  6. phillyphanatic77 - May 23, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    I know Rangers fans are happy. I’ve seen them calling for this move since about 5 games into the regular season.

  7. hockey003 - May 23, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    The only time NYR has had any success on the PP this year were the games Richards missed when he was boarded forcing him to miss 4+ games – look at the stats.

    And let us not forget, their biggest offensive win of the year other than the Holtby implosion in Game=7 was a 6-1 win over Pittsburgh, when Torts didn’t have time to “coach” Clowe, Brassard and Moore as they arrived at the game 15 minutes before it started.

    He’s messed up Kreider’s development this season while for some reason sticking with JT Miller throughout most of the season (4 points in 26 games, -7) for a regular shift. I like Miller, but this is Torts knowing more than anyone else again.

  8. cliverush - May 23, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    The man just does not have the wheels anymore. The chance the team took in bringing him to NYC resembles the Farve deal.

  9. johnstone17 - May 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    First things first. This gives Richards the time to ask around ” dude, wheres my game?”. Secondly, the isea that Torts gets cut loose after this season is a small stetch. That said, I think he is on a very short leash next season.

  10. bronxsanman - May 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Trying to deflect the blame again torts? Wow, I have never seen a coach do this so much.”it’s Chris Kreider …no wait its Carl no wait its Brad Richards…no no wait its Sean Avery again. It’s everybody but me! ” . Please fire this guy now so maybe next year we can have a little bit of chemistry and an actual power play. Let him go stifle talent somewhere else. Thanks for nothing!

  11. mrpinkca - May 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Another excellent free agent acquisition by Glen Sather.

  12. stakex - May 23, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Its funny…. Ottawa was suppose to be such a good team as well, yet why is no one pileing on their coach for their implosion last night in a game they really could have won? Yet Torts is doing something he should have done a few games ago and removing a terrible player from the lineup and its just him “deflecting blame” or trying to save his job? No… hes trying to win a game by getting a struggling player out of the lineup.

    Its amazing how wierd people get when they simply don’t like a guy. If Torts was a little more friendly with the media, 90% of the comments in this story wouldn’t exist. Instead of blaming Torts for the Rangers struggles people would actually look at the roster and realize a hidden truth…. its not nearly as good as some people think it is. With Richards MIA the only really good player the Rangers have is Nash. Hagglin isn’t some great player being held back by Torts system… hes just a very average player with little scoring ability who just happens to be fast. Same could be said for a lot of their players.

    Side Note: I remember everyone saying that it was Torts fault that guys like Dubinsky and Anisimov struggled. It was his system, not their lack of ability. Yet what happened under a new coach and system? Nadda…. Duby had all of 2 goals in 29 games this year and Anisimov had 18 points in 35 games. Yup, was really Torts.

    • closp79 - May 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      The only problem with this argument is that the Senators weren’t heavily favored to win the Cup this year. After last year’s upset (not to me because I’m a Devils fan) loss in the conference finals the Rangers were supposed to be the team to beat. They’ve been very inconsistent all year long and came together a bit after the trade deadline. They were lucky to play Washington in the first round but even that series exposed the team’s weaknesses. Now that they’re playing a larger, more defensively sound team we’re seeing that they’re a mediocre team. Now I’m not talking smack because I’m a Devils fan, I’ll bash them to pieces when they deserve it and they do after the collapse they had at the end of the season. I just think that Torts has run his course in NYC. He did a great job showing them how to win again but he’s the type of coach that only lasts so long because of his nature.

      • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 23, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Chemistry wins championships.

        Just because a person is talented (coach or player), it doesn’t mean they have the personality to make their team strive to compete at their best.

        I feel a little sad for the tri-state area. With such a big sports market in the New York area, only the Giants, Devils, (in a not so distant past, the Islanders) and Yankees know what it takes to be successful winning franchises who are consistently competitive while the rest of the teams are an absolute joke year in and year out.

      • tfaltin - May 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Think you took it too far there. Rangers did finish in the top 4 last year, and top 8 this year. That’s not really a joke. And their future is certainly brighter than the Yankees.

      • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 23, 2013 at 5:37 PM

        Rangers have won one cup in 70 plus years. If you measure success by winning, then the Jets and Mets are more relevant.

        Truth hurts.

  13. malkinrulez - May 23, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Isn’t this the Rangers team most “experts” thought would be playing for the cup? Chemistry in the locker room is extremely important. This Rangers team proves that.

  14. thedavesiknowiknow - May 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    “Torts” has pulled every bit of crap a market that cared about hockey wouldn’t tolerate this season (and prior). I have to wonder if that has gone completely unnoticed, and the Rangers will just go get another flashy forward this summer- or maybe he gets the can? Either way- enjoy the premature cup the national media hands you next September, Ranger fans.

  15. jaredo10 - May 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    why the fcuk didn’t I get a Callahan winter classic jersey?

  16. hosewater2 - May 23, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    How much are those of us outside NY enjoying this? Watching another NY sports franchise that tried to buy a championship see it’s investments turn south in a hurry. How you liking that Rick Nash trade now BTW?

  17. chanceoffleury1 - May 23, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Am I missing something? Was Richards some crazy dominant offensive powerhouse under Torts when he played in Tampa that his stats aren’t showing???

    2002- .76 PPG
    2003- .92 PPG
    2004- .96 PPG
    2006- 1.11 PPG
    2007- .85 PPG
    2008- .82 PPG before being traded

    2012- .80 PPG
    2013- .74 PPG

    Has he fallen off the wagon a little bit? Yeah, but that happens to most guys in the league after they turn 30. But by the way Rangers fans trash the guy you would think Richards was putting up AT LEAST 90 points a season regularly under Tortorella. It seems that Richards hasn’t really been underperforming (until the this years playoffs). From the outside looking in it seems like the Rangers just dramatically oversigned him.

    If they end up buying him out he’d be a solid pickup for any team that gives him some decent offensive system room to work with. He centered James Neal in Dallas and helped him get to a couple 20 goal seasons. He’s not totally useless. If he gets bought out I’d love to see a team like Columbus pick him up. Lower market popularity, former teammates, more wiggle room for error, etc. He obviously won’t get a $6.67 million dollar cap hit if he gets bought out and resigns either. I don’t see him ever hitting the 80+ point mark again, but I still think he can bring something to a team. He’s not totally useless.

  18. wisdomnfl - May 23, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I’m not going to pile on the Rangers, I’ve always respected those guys. They do need a more stable coach though these hot heads are not the way to go. And don’t blame the coach for lousy play by an individual.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1908)
  2. P. Kessel (1605)
  3. M. Richards (1367)
  4. N. Backstrom (1180)
  5. M. Giordano (1155)