Brad Richards hasn't been horrendous this season as evidenced by his 10 points (2g, 8a) in 13 games, which is good for third on the Rangers, but he hasn't been the playmaker we thought he would be centering Rick Nash. Obviously it has gotten to the point where John Tortorella actually had to take Nash off Richards' wing.
Richards is now goalless in this last eight games and has just four assists during that time. He has also generated nothing on the power play, forcing Tortorella to actually take him off it last night.
What's also a bit alarming are the amount of turnovers coming from the Rangers assistant captain. Richards had three last night in a season low 14:50 of ice time as Tortorella benched him in the third period.
Here's Richards on his struggles...
“I think I was just trying too hard. Instead of moving the puck when I had it, I was trying too hard, and that’s why I got myself in jams. I’m smarter than that.”
...so at age 32 is Richards getting old? Is he becoming Chris Drury? I say no. Richards didn't play during the lockout and missed most of camp with the flu. So he's likely not in the shape he'd like to be in and it's showing on the ice as he looks to be a step behind. Hopefully last night's benching is a bit of a wakeup call for him. If not then the next seven years of his contract are going to be a nightmare. A complete longshot, but you have to wonder if Richards doesn't turn this around would the Rangers actually discuss using their last amnesty buyout on him this summer or next summer?
...Richards struggles are most evident on the power play. He's not setting anyone up or moving with the puck to create mismatches. Wasn't he brought in here to change that around last year? Oh no, that was Gaborik three years ago. Oh wait, I mean Nash this year.
...i also wonder if Richards recently broken up with a girlfriend because we all remember how his game went into the toilet when Olivia Munn dropped him like a bad habit last season.
Tortorella noted that Richards struggles have nothing to do with his effort.
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