Richards, Asham Out; Haley, Newbury, Hamrlik In

While it's really not all that surprising considering his performance and lack of ice time in the playoffs, I'm still in shock to read that Brad Richards will be a healthy scratch in Game 4 tonight.

According to Katie Strang at ESPN.com, John Tortorella called Richards at home this morning to break the news to him.

Richards admitted he was surprised and disappointed with the decision, but added this (via ESPN.com)….

"Nothing's over. Work harder and try my best to not let it happen again."

…wow! Torts has known Richards for a long time, I can't imagine this was an easy decision. But it's the right one. Thought Torts would at least have the chutzpah to tell Richards to his face.

…despite the scratch tonight, I still believe Richards will be back next season. The Rangers have committed too much money to Richards that I can't believe they would give up on him based on one terrible lockout shortened season. Give him a chance to prove he can still be an effective player in the NHL and if he can't, buy him out next summer. Don't underestimate the value of pride.

Also from practice today, Darroll Powe declared himself out tonight, while Arron Asham, who skated with the scratches along with Chris Kreider, said he wasn't sure if he was playing.

Ryane Clowe skated for the second straight day, while Kris Newbury and Michael Haley left the ice early with the rest of the team and will likely take the place of Asham and Richards in the line-up.

…talk about desperate times calling for desperate measures. Assuming if Clowe feels he's healthy enough to play, which I doubt he will, he'll take Kreider's spot in the line-up.

…to be honest, I like the moves, especially after the lack of energy and passion from the Rangers in Game 3. Newbury and Haley are two guys who can fire a team up and I expect both to be extremely aggressive from the drop of the puck. Heck, if I'm Torts I have the two of them out there with Dorsett for the opening face-off and demand that they jump whoever they're lined-up against. Time for some old school hockey, Rangers fans.

Speaking of old, it looks like Roman Hamrlik will be the guy to replace the injured Anton Stralman tonight.

…whatever, not going to complain about a guy who won't see more than three minutes.

…hope there's extra energy bars for Girardi and McDonagh because they might play 50 minutes each tonight.

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Kevin

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