Richards' future with Rangers in doubt

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 27, 2013
Brad Richards would like to continue his career with the New York Rangers. That decision was his two summers ago, but now it is out of his hands. The former star center joined his Rangers teammates on Monday in cleaning out their lockers following a disappointing five-game loss to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The defeat struck Richards even harder because he was a healthy scratch for the final two games. His production simply wasn't good enough to stay in the lineup. That is a far cry from July 2011 when the 33-year-old Richards signed a nine-year, $60-million deal to join the Rangers as a prized free agent. ''It's about the team and producing for the team, and it was a struggle,'' Rangers coach John Tortorella of Richards, who won the Stanley Cup with him in 2004 with Tampa Bay. ''It not only hurt Brad, but more importantly it hurt the team. ''It's not all on him as far as all the things that have gone on. When you have a guy that we put into the position that we thought was going to produce, it hurts the team. We just keep on trying to get better, other guys step in, try to do some other things, and you try to find a way to win as a hockey club.'' The Rangers stayed alive against Boston in Game 4, the first game Richards was held out of the lineup. They couldn't duplicate the success two days later, and were eliminated on the road. ''When it happens, you're not really understanding,'' Richards said of the benching. ''It just wasn't a good season.'' Now Richards' future with the Rangers is very much in doubt. New York could choose to buy out the remaining seven years of Richards' contract. Each NHL team has the option of two amnesty buyouts that could be used to terminate contracts before next season or the 2014-15 season. The buyouts will cost two-thirds of the remaining amount on a deal - paid evenly over twice its remaining length - and will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the individual team's salary cap. A buyout for Richards would cost the Rangers $24 million over 14 years. ''I didn't play the last two games of the season,'' Richards said. ''I signed here to be a Ranger for a lot longer than a year-and-a-half. So I hope to do that. ''But I do understand what's going on. I just want to play hockey. That's all I'm worried about.'' Tortorella said that no matter what happens, his relationship with Richards hasn't been changed or damaged. The ultimate decision on what happens with the contract, however, rests in the hands of general manager Glen Sather. The team is expected to hold its organizational meetings in late June. Richards was moved to the fourth line before he was eventually benched, but his style of play didn't fit there. ''Brad knows how I feel about him,'' Tortorella said. ''I was not coaching him the right way playing him on the fourth line. It doesn't work, but I also could not put him in front of other people because I thought the other people were playing better. ''I think it needs to be the start of trying to jump-start him, to make him understand this isn't good enough. That's one thing about Brad Richards, I think he understands that stuff. It happened at a time that we didn't want to do it, but it is a bit of a wake-up call as far as where we are and what we expect. I believe he understands that and I do believe he will turn himself around.'' The long lockout eliminated training camps for teams before the season finally began in January. Richards said he was in good shape in September when the season should have started, but that changed during the extended layoff. Richards will have to convince the Rangers, or any other team that might be interested in signing him should New York let him go, that he is still capable of being a productive player. He was limited to 11 goals and 34 points in 46 regular-season games and then one goal in 10 postseason contests. ''I'd like to get through the summer first. Obviously I have a lot to prove,'' he said. ''It was a roller coaster.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker