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Richards: ‘I didn’t feel normal all season’

May 27, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

Brad Richards AP

Just as head coach John Tortorella worried it might, the lockout may indeed have screwed up Brad Richards.

At least, that’s what Richards hinted at today as the Rangers met with the media for the final time this year after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins.

“I didn’t feel normal all season,” said Richards, who was made a healthy scratch for Games 4 and 5 versus the Bruins.

The 33-year-old center also said he was in shape and ready to play in September. But, of course, the season didn’t start until much later.

Unlike many other NHLers, Richards didn’t play overseas during the work stoppage.

“I worry about our older guys like Richie and [Mike Rupp] who aren’t playing [in Europe],” Tortorella told The New York Post on Oct. 23. “It’s tough and they need to stay on top of it.”

Richards had 34 points in 46 regular-season games and just one goal in 10 playoff appearances.

To be clear, Richards wasn’t using the lockout as an excuse. He says he’s got to start over and will begin training in a week.

As for the buyout speculation, he said there’s nothing he can do about that, but that he didn’t sign in New York to play a year and a half. Whatever management decides, he’ll be playing hockey somewhere next year.

Related: Three reasons the Rangers might buy out Richards

  1. micklethepickle - May 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Didn’t use the lockout as an excuse… so he’s just saying he’s no longer a NHL-caliber player? And if he was in shape and ready to play in September, what happened in the 4 months between that? If you get paid millions of dollars to do nothing but play hockey, it shouldn’t be a chore to motivate yourself to, y’know, STAY in shape when you’re not.

    • stakex - May 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Its a ton of work to stay in game ready shape… and its always harder to do it in the summer when there is no structure from the team. Thats especially true the older a guy gets, so its not impossible the 33 year old Richards struggled to stay in shape during the 4 months of the lockout.

      • tdrusher225 - May 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        What’s different about Richards? Everyone else managed to stay in shape. There’s a reason guys like Lidstrom, Alfredson, Recchi, St. Louis, and so on can play at a high level into their late 30’s. It’s because they’re workout warriors and make damn well sure they’re in good enough shape to compete. If you can’t incorporate that type of work ethic into your later years then you’re not good enough to be in the NHL.

  2. banger60 - May 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    my opinion is that even though it was a screwed up season with the strike he was never himself, maybe he needs a change of scenery along with the coach and gm, I think they made a good trade but it all starts with management and on down, no motivation, especially in the playoffs from the elite, off-season will be interesting to say the least.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      Just for the record, there wasn’t a strike.

  3. phillyphanatic77 - May 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    He hasn’t come close to justifying his contract, but with 34 points in 46 games he was pretty close to the pace of the year before. I think he still has the ability to produce if he gets bought out. Who knows, he may perform better outside the bright lights of NYC.

    • stakex - May 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      The problem isn’t as much Richards play (the playoffs this year aside) as it is the contract Sather handed him. He was on the downward swing of his career, and had concussion issues in Dallas. He was still a good player, but not worth what the Rangers paid him. So when he had a 68 point season last year, and 34 points this year, its played up as though hes not performing…. when hes actually performing like a reasonable person could expect.

      Its similar to what happened with Gomez before he just lost it. The Rangers gave a career so-so player a massive contract and suddenly everyone expected him to be a top flight goal scorer. His first year with the Rangers was pretty in-line with his past play… but was considered under performing becuase of his contract.

      • drone501 - May 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        seriously can you name all the horrible contracts sather has handed out while in new york. just curious. i can think of richards, redden and gomez. i think there is a lot more. not a rangers fan.

      • windmiller4 - May 27, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Drury, Gaborik. I know sather didn’t give him the contract but i think Nash will end up being another one of their big money busts.

      • ethanmacleod1685 - May 27, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Gomez was more of just a so-so player IMO, back in the day

  4. Habib Marwan - May 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    best pals, stakex and 77, ya’ll should get a room

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 27, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      I think I’ve replied to all of two stakex comments in the time I’ve been on PHT.

      • Habib Marwan - May 27, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        are you mick formerly known as flyers60 in the old yahoo nhl chatroom?

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 27, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Wait nvm, I get it. The moderator of PHT, President Charles Logan, has opted for a switch of 24 characters.

      • Habib Marwan - May 27, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        i cant wait for the new season of 24 to start ! got to wait a whole year though, guess i’ll just have keep adding my 2 cents on here until then!

      • drone501 - May 27, 2013 at 7:11 PM

        where the hell is eiggles. haven’t heard from him since pens beat the flylanders.

  5. stakex - May 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Richards stays with the Rangers this next season to be honest. A little suprised perhaps, but not shocked.

    The important thing to remember is that the Rangers can use their compliance buyout after next season as well, so they don’t have to pull the trigger on Richards quite yet. If they feel that perhaps this really was just a freak year with the lockout and all, they could get him one more shot. It will also depend on what the trade/free agent market will look like. If the Rangers cut ties with Richards, they will have even bigger depth problems at center then they already do. So if the market is thin, it might make sense to hang on to him…. for now at least.

    • zetaone - May 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Why would you be surprised if he stayed with the Rangers next season? He’s under contract with them until 2020. He has a no trade clause..

      But because players have a mediocre or average season, EA Sports NHL 13 wannabe-GM fans pull out their billionaire checkbooks and just paint with wide sweeping strokes, “BUYOUT!” Get real, the Rangers aren’t going to buy him out this year, or next.

      • 19to77 - May 27, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        So, just to recap – he’s good for 60-65 points in a full season at this point in his career, predictably declining with age, and under contract with a cap hit of over six and a half million dollars until the start of the next decade – at which point he’ll be 40 years old.

        How do you figure they WON’T buy him out? If there are performance-versus-contract value questions already, how much worse do you think they’re going to get as he ages?

  6. banger60 - May 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    mick, agreed, very true, especially for the cash they make.

  7. Habib Marwan - May 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    old, slow, cant keep up with the play, terrible in his own end , move on it was a huge mistake of a contract

    • mathieug79 - May 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Funny how many big signing Sather gets away with…Gomez, Redden, Gaborik, and now Richards….can’t believe how much of the owner’s money he wasted, but he’s still the GM somehow.

      • mathieug79 - May 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Ohhh and Drury

      • Habib Marwan - May 27, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        well in defense of sather, i give him credit for reeling in the “big fish” at least, and the market up there in nyc demands big names , sometimes they just get a few guys that are past their prime and or cant adjust to ny’s pressure, i think the guy they mis used the worst was bobby holik , they thought he was going to be a 30 goal scorer every year when alls he ever was , was basically a checking forward

  8. mathieug79 - May 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Buy him out, I would like to see him come to Tampa Bay for a second chance at being the 2 way forward he used to be. He could pass the puck to Stamkos on the PP.

  9. DonkeyStick - May 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Let me guess, if the Rangers won the series the title to this article would be…..

    Richards: “I feel great!”

  10. nyrnashty - May 27, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I forgive him and every other good player that didn’t have a good year. I don’t think that the players should be even competing for a cup this year since there was a lockout. They should have to play for the trophy that the fans design in lockout shortened seasons. I still don’t count the cup the Devils won in ’95 since they didn’t play a full schedule to earn it. I’m sure Richards will be back to normal next year when he’s not playing back to back games and 3 games in 4 nights every week.

  11. banger60 - May 27, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I have the same feeling about Nash, I hope he plays too potential, some can’t handle being in N.Y., all major sports, they need another power forward scorer with size.

    • Habib Marwan - May 27, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Nash is going to be a force for years to come, trading for him wasnt a mistake by Sather at all

  12. alswingman - May 28, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Everyone else felt normal enough to live up to their less than mega million contracts, Richards owes the Rangers a refund.

    • hockeydon10 - May 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      It takes two to tango.

      Meaning he didn’t force the Rags to offer that big fat contract.

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