Despite Struggles, Richards Has Been a Pro

After Brad Richards recorded his first career hat trick against the Sabres last night, John Tortorella said this about the alternate captain's struggles this season (via Bergen Record)…

“He’s been good all year as far as his attitude. He’s a pro. He’s been through a lot of ups and downs. He knows more is expected of him. He has still made plays along the way, though there are struggles. He isn’t a guy that brings it into the room and brings other people down. He beats himself up, no question. he doesn’t let that get his teammates down. I never worry about that with him.”

Richards on whether these two games indicate a rebound in his game…

“Hopefully. I don’t even really want to talk about it and jinx it. If it’s back now, it’s a great time to have it, let’s put it that way.”

Here's the hat trick…

…listen, there's no way around it, it has been a nightmare season for Richards. Every part of his game has broken down. But one thing you can't criticize is his effort. There haven't been many, if any, instances you can point to this season in which he hasn't given maximum effort. Which is a testament to his leadership and ability to put the team first. If he began to display an aloof attitude on the ice you wonder how it might have affected the rest of the team especially the younger players.

…but I tell you what, if Richards can heat up here and into the playoffs (playoffs?!?!?! you talking playoff?!?!?) all the fans' frustrations with him will melt away in a New York minute. Hell, you might even see an end to all the buyout speculation. I said might.

…Richards' struggles have been a microcosm of the Rangers inconsistent play this season, so I really feel that if he can find his game the entire team will follow and we'll finally see the team we all anticipated during the offseason.

More post game thoughts from players and Torts…

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