As Rangers fans try to figure out what in the world has happened to Brad Richards, it sounds like he is just as baffled (via NY Post)…
“I’ve never been through anything like this in my career,” Richards said. “I’m trying to cope with it, I’m trying to learn from it but I’ve never experienced anything like this.
“When you’re an offensive guy, you have to produce.”
Despite his struggles, Richards is trying to stay positive…
“The thing I hang on to is that we’re still in it and I know I can help a lot more than I have. That’s what I’m looking at. That’s a good thing.”
Richards has just one point in the last seven games and just two goals since January 26th, none on the power play.
…i'm really at a loss with Richards. This guy was one of the premiere playmakers in the NHL just two years ago and now he can barely complete a pass. I've beaten the "not enough toughness" drum on this blog all season, but, man, Richards has killed the Rangers. While he was near career lows in points last season, he picked his spots and couldn't have been more clutch. This year, minus the clutchness he has been exposed. I mean ZERO power play goals? Really? How is that possible?
…i can see two possible reasons for his demise. The first is that he's hit a wall at age 30 the same way Chris Drury did. For whatever reason his body could be breaking down and he just can't survive the rigors of an NHL season. The other is that he didn't properly prepare for this season. Instead of playing overseas during the lockout, Richards decided to stay around New York and obviously not train as intensely. Add in having the flu during the shortened training camp and you can see why he was probably out of shape to start this season. And now that he's struggled so mightily you have to figure confidence is the issue.
…i tend to think it's the latter, which is why I'd be against buying him out this offseason. Give him another year to prove himself. If he can't, it's amnesty buyout next offseason, but if he can, expect the Rangers to be back in the hunt for a Stanley Cup.
…but as Richards says, the Rangers are somehow still in the thick of the playoff race without contributions from him and Gaborik, so even if they can get a small increase in production the Rangers should be in good shape going to the postseason. A turnaround from these two could be better than any trade deadline move the Rangers can make.