Richards proves Sather right

John Tortorella wanted him, Glen Sather wanted him and the vast majority of the Rangers universe (media and fans) acknowledged he was exactly what this team needed last summer. Now, Brad Richards is proving the supporters right and the few (misinformed) doubters very much wrong.

Richards has been far from perfect in his first year on Broadway. Scott Gomez even outscored him when comparing debut regular seasons; but there is no doubting Richards’ impact on a young Rangers team in his first year. He’s every bit the leader that was hoped for.

Clutch: Richards has come up big all year long as his nine regular season game winners show. He’s leading the team in scoring in the post season and is making crucial plays all over the ice. In the triple overtime win it was his feed that set up the Gaborik winner. It was Richards who came up big in game five with the goal and in the same game check the video for number 19 back checking and breaking up plays in his own zone. Richards, in short, is a leader for the Rangers and right now he’s absolutely earning his large and long contract.

While Richards 66 regular season points were a full-season low mark since his rookie year it’s crucial to note his impact in the dressing room and the influence he has had on the younger players. Then there is yesterday’s Tortorella press conference where the coach spoke of the relationship between the two – something Torts rarely admits to. Besides, 66 points is hardly a bad season, far from it in fact it’s just Richards has different standards. Now, he’s living up to those standards at the most important time of year.

When judging the Rangers (and the Richards acquisition, in the short term) it’s important to consider this: would the Rangers be poised to enter the conference finals for the first time in a generation had they not acquired Brad Richards? Despite a team full of promise, Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik, there is only one answer and that’s no. Once again, Glen Sather has appeared to make the right decision bringing onboard the leading light to lead this cast to brighter things. New York stardom is Richards’ to take and its richly deserved. So far.

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  1. Very seldom do I give credit to Slats, because over the years he put out a product that was second rate. In the Richards decision, he was right on the mark, and for that he should get the credit, and our thanks. Brad is everything he was made out to be, plus some. To all the nay sayers, lets finally admit we were wrong. Now don’t you feel better?

    1. Sather has done an A+ job since the lockout. Unfortunately he did an abysmal job before that which naturally taints his rep.

      Richards was a great decision and even the cap length isn’t that much of an issue. I and everyone else would be stunned if he saw out the deal. All Slats was doing, was like many other GMs, taking advantage of a CBA loop hole.

      That all said, even with a potential cup win this year Richards will still have to back this year up with more productive seasons afterwards to follow to validate the deal completely.

      1. Chris

        As you stated, Brad won’t be around for the duration of the contract, so I’ll enjoy him for as long as he is here. The icing on the cake will be a cup, or two, or three!!! What a thought.

  2. I was a naysayer. And I am very happy that I was wrong.

    As to the 66 points…we just needed to find the right line mates.

  3. Another caveat re:#19 Won a lot of face-offs, which wasn’t happening last year, and with regard to 66 points.. not bad on a defence first team..
    Very happy to have him. Star quality, seemingly no ego, works hard.

  4. Can anyone opine as to how Sather made the transition to successful, productive GM over the past several years?

    1. Sather’s reputation when he came to the Rangers was being able to build through the draft, and acquiring prospects through trades. When he came to the Rangers, he didn’t have much to work with (very little in system, not much on the team). It took him a while to build the system up, and even have players he could trade for prospects/role players. All while trying to put a winning product on the ice.

      1. Sather’s first FOUR drafts were ABYSMAL.
        Other than a lucky shot in the dark that was Lundquist in the sixth round in his first draft (2000) there are grand total of 2 viable NHLers out of those drafts (Tyutin and Zidlicky in 2001). 2002 and 2003 drafts produced zilch.
        Somehow starting in 2004 the magic reappeared. Dubi and Callahan, followed by (2005) Staal and Sauer, (2006) Anisimov, (2007) Hagelin, (2008) Del Zotto, Stepan, Grachev and Wiese, (2009) Krieder and hopefully McIlrath and Miller.

        I also fully believe that Cherepanov would have been as good or better than most of these guys.

        When did Gordie Clark join the Rangers?

        1. 2000 – Dominic Moore.
          2001 – Dan Blackburn…but that shoulder injury really killed his career.
          2002/2003 – Ouch.

  5. If the old Sather hadn’t hung around for a while after the lockout, the Rangers wouldn’t have gotten stuck with Gomez. That would have meant as the cookie crumbled, no McDonagh, the new Sather’s finest move. Prust was a steal. Sather had the guts to bury Wade Redden — maybe another owner other than the much maligned Dolan wouldn’t have signed off on that. On the debit side Sather got rid of Pascal Dupuis much too quickly and to a certain extent Korpikoski, who’s won raves from his coach in Phoenix although he was an unknown quantity at the time.

  6. Hey Slats should be thanking his lucky stars Jim Dolan is his owner. Had we not been able to buyout Drury, or demote Redden, we would have never had the money to sign Richards.

  7. Getting rid of Korpikoski was a big mistake. Dan Maloney, who became the Phoenix GM was responsible for drafting him when he was with the Rangers, and asked for him when the Rangers needed a dman — a-rent-a-dman from Phoenix for the playoffs (whose name escapes me now but is back with Phoenix) for the playoffs. Again, a bad move.

    1. But where would he fit in with today’s lineup? Who would you want out of the lineup so Korpo could be in the lineup?

    2. Enver Lisin for Korpo, winger for winger straight up — our first rounder for a non NHLer, pretty poor move

  8. Anyone else see that they changed the time of Richards goal to 7.6 seconds? I hate this whole “official clock” crap. The one in the arena that the referees go by should be the official clock. Or they need to find someway that the clocks in the arena exactly match the ones in Toronto. Honestly can that be that hard?

  9. Richards is playing well right now and seems to want it more and more every game. Perhaps those years of missing the playoffs in Dallas really got to him.
    I was a naysayer and I’m getting proven wrong at this time although, I agree there needs to be more than one 66 pt season and a few clutch plays in the 2nd round to make a final assessment.

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