We are nearing the end of the first quarter of the 2011-12 hockey season, and granted the Rangers still have to face the Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in the coming weeks before the quarter closes, but I think it's safe to say that, so far, this season has been a success for the Blueshirts after their turnaround. A large part of that success has been the play of center Brad Richards, who was signed to a nine-year, $60 million contract over the summer. At least to this point, he's been worth every penny of that money.
Richards, like the team, got off to a bit of a slow start. After scoring a clutch tying goal in Europe, he suddenly became quiet, which is something he acknowledged and said he needed to improve. The Marian Gaborik experiment didn't last very long, and we quickly saw Richie getting bounced around in the lineup to see who he fits best with.
It just so happens that Richards played his best when centering a second line containing Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan on the wings. That's where he's spent a majority of the winning streak, and in eight games with them, he has recorded eight total points. In other words, he's become a point-per-game player when skating with Dubinsky and Callahan.
A lot of the credit goes to head coach John Tortorella for this one, as his reasoning for moving Richards to the second line with those guys was that sometimes "grinding it out" will bring out the best in Brad and help him find his game. Well I guess the coach wasn't kidding when he said he and Brad know each other extremely well, because the outcome of this move couldn't have been more perfect. Tip of the hat to ol' Torts.
Going into the year we all knew about Richards' passing and his playmaking capabilities. We've seen him excel on this team while using those tools on the ice, but one thing I was unaware of when the Rangers signed Richards was his lethal shot. This guy really knows how to shoot the hockey puck, and you saw what I mean on his game-winning shot on Long Island a few nights ago. His shooting is just as accurate as his passing, and that's made him an even more dangerous weapon for this hockey club.
In the early going, though, Richards was not shooting the puck as often as he should, and it is my belief that was a result of playing with Marian Gaborik. Richie felt obligated to dish it off, but the coaching staff put a quick halt on that. Now, on the second line, Richards has been averaging three to four shots on goal per game as of late, as opposed to just one or two. And clearly that's made a difference in his production.
It took time, but Richards is finally playing $60 million hockey and meeting the expectations of the fan base to this point. He is currently second in scoring on the team behind Marian Gaborik, having registered 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points in sixteen games played. Without Richards, this winning streak wouldn't be as smooth moving as it's been, and let's hope that is something that continues into the next few weeks when the competition is amped up a notch.
Jason Brough at Pro Hockey Talk reports that the Rangers are 6-0-0 since Brad Richards began dating actress Olivia Munn.Brough adds that the the two dined at Spasso in the West Village on Thursday and she attended the game at MSG against the Hurricanes on Friday....and here I was thinking the winning streak had to do with the Avery recall.Remember to follow me on Twitter & Facebook...
Loved this pic of Brad Richards celebrating his game winning goal against the Islanders last night while the Rangers bench erupts in the background and Islanders players look like they're attending a funeral...Remember to follow me on Twitter & Facebook or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Brad Richards is taking to life as a big star in New York quite well.
He's showing up in Page Six for squiring starlets around town on his nights off and leading the Rangers to wins when he's working, something that's known as Jetering around these parts. Well, it's not really known as Jetering, but it should be especially when the Rangers are as hot as they are right...
The Rangers let two leads slip away in a physical game at Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night, but Brad Richards buried a slap shot off an assist from Brandon Dubinsky late in the third period to break the tie, and the Blueshirts went on to defeat the Islanders, 4-2, for their seventh straight win.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Brad Richards' go-ahead goal with 4:55 remaining snapped a tie and sent the New York Rangers to their seventh straight victory, 4-2 over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Richards broke a 2-2 tie, and Ryan Callahan...
Click on photo to see some classic Coach K shots
The old-school pictures of Coach K are awesome. The next question is; do you think this record is safe? I really can’t see anyone touching this for a long, long, long time. And if it is broken, let’s hope that it’s not done by a guy like John Calipari or Rick Pitino.
You would never guess these ten things kill human...
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