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Video: Tortorella explains decision to scratch Richards

May 24, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT

Brad Richards AP

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella still loves forward Brad Richards and if you don’t believe him, then he has some choice words for you.

At the same time, Tortorella decided it was important to go into detail about why Richards was a healthy scratch on Thursday after being previously relegated to the fourth line.

“By no means is this a situation when I take him out that I’m blaming him,” Tortorella said, per “I’m playing Brad on the fourth line, he’s playing seven or eight minutes, it’s not good for him. It doesn’t work playing Brad Richards that way, but I also feel some other guys have played better so that’s where he is right now in our lineup.”

Tortorella determined that he didn’t have a spot on either of the Rangers’ top two lines for Richards, but he also needed to give the fourth line “some sort of identity,” so Richards had to come out.

The obvious question now is what’s next for the 33-year-old forward. If the Rangers can’t find a use for him in the playoffs, they might buy out his massive contract. Perhaps that will happen, but Tortorella is still in his corner even if he isn’t using him.

“I’m sure people will pick it apart, but I want to make sure you know Brad Richards is a hell of a hockey player,” Tortorella said. “He has had struggles. He’s had struggles here. It continues. Me putting him in that role does not help him. So I’d rather have him out and identify how we’re going to run our fourth line.”

We’ll see if Richards is given a chance to bounce back in Game 5.

  1. gospitfires - May 24, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    the bottom line is great players dont sit out the most important game of his season barring injury, and richards is not injured. some guys simply lose it earlier than others, look at jonathan cheechoo, out of the league what, 3 years after scoring 50. This was simply another Glen Sather brutal signing. this guy wont be in the league after 2 more seasons.

  2. sbmcintosh36 - May 24, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Blue shirts new slogan. .. Where stars come to die!
    Sather blows but c’mon the list of Torts “kills” grows everyday believe the last one was a Mr Gaborik….

  3. REDSKINSFORLIFE - May 24, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Torts sucks!

  4. valoisvipers - May 24, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    You don’t buy thoroughbreds to plow fields. Torts and his flop,drop and roll defense system have to go if you want star player to succeed.

  5. johnstone17 - May 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Your the coach, You made a decision based on what you & every Rangers fan has seen. Let it die.

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