Brad Richards: “We Have To Play The Next Game, It’s On The Schedule.”
There was Brad Richards, answering questions about the last unexplainable Rangers loss. To his credit, he stood up and answered what was asked in the face of possibly having been the worst Ranger in this series.
Sadly, it’s for that reason and nothing else that people are taking offense to Richards’ quote, “We have to play the next game, it’s on the schedule.” Ranger fans for the most part have decided to compartmentalize that quote as if he is quitting. Nothing could be further from the truth, matter of fact all Richards said was true.
Here is the entire interview:
For those that shut their ears off after that sound byte, Richards followed with, “We have pride. It doesn’t feel like we’ve played a lot of bad hockey…” This is a fine example of why when you take a quote out of context it sounds awful. However, the key quote was this pearl of wisdom:
“That’s the fine line of these games.”
That statement is in essence why the NY Rangers are down 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final and not up 3-0. The L.A. Kings up until game 3 didn’t hold a lead in either games 1 or 2 and still were able to get wins. We can complain about officiating but in the end it’s the costly turnovers and poor decisions that make the difference between winning and losing.
This morning Denis Potvin was a guest on Hockey This Morning. He pointed out how the back breaking 1-0 goal with less than a second was a blend of bad decisions and not recognizing the situation.
With time running out, Justin Williams was looking to dump the puck in the zone when 2 Rangers closed in on him. Potvin said, “It forced him to make a better play.” Williams then found Carter who was picked up by Lundqvist. If not for Girardi sliding in front of Hank to try and block the shot, Lundqvist was in position. The shot glanced off Girardi’s skate and changed the puck just enough to go over Lundqvist’s glove. Bad decision and the “fine line” revealed.
There are so many other issues with the Rangers to point out, but we will save that for future articles. For now, we all know these are Brad Richards’ last days in a Ranger uniform. His declining stats every year since he’s been here are no secret. For all the hype of how great of a resurgence we’ve seen here are the stone cold numbers:
2011/12: 82 GAMES, 66 POINTS, .80 PTS PER GAME AVG
2012/13: 46 GAMES, 34 POINTS, .74 PTS PER GAME AVG
2013/14: 82 GAMES, 51 POINTS, .62 PTS PER GAME AVG
We’ve said all year that he was declining and his play in these finals is proof on the biggest stage possible. While his efforts and leadership are admirable, he doesn’t fit in the future plans of the NY Rangers. And even if they win 4 in a row and raise the Cup, his 6.6 million dollar cap hit will still be bought out.
But for Wednesday night, we need to cheer him and the Rangers on to keep the Kings from skating on Garden ice with the Stanley Cup.