When a player is struggling to produce and playing with a lack of confidence, said player more often than not finds himself out of the lineup.
That was not the case for New York Rangers’ forward Brad Richards this season and even in the postseason. This was mainly because of his relationship with head coach John Tortorella, who watched Richards produce consistently, be a lethal weapon on the power play, and win a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs with Tampa Bay.
That changed for tonight’s Game 4 at Madison Square Garden against the Bruins. The New York Rangers announced that he has been scratched for tonight’s tilt.
Brad Richards confirms he is scratched for Game Four tonight
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) May 23, 2013
This is something that should have happened a long time ago for the Rangers’ forward still on a nine-year contract. He has not been even close to the player he once was and he looks lost out on the ice whether it is even strength or more noticeably, the power play.
This is especially the case in this year’s playoffs. In 10 games, Richards has just one goal, is a -3 and has taken just 18 shots despite ample time on the power play.
Richards’s described to Dan Rosen at NHL.com how he felt when he heard the news from Tortorella:
"Nothing is over, work harder and try my best to never let it happen again," Richards said. "It's all tough."
This is the first time that Richards has been a healthy scratch in the postseason. At 33 years of age and in his 12th season in the NHL, it has to come as a surprise to Richards but to everyone else looking at the game from the outside, it is definitely not a head scratcher.