‘Rangers Inside And Out’
By Sean Hartnett
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For much of the 2013 NHL season, Rangers fans pointed the finger at under-performing alternate captain Brad Richards.
Some were eager to accuse Richards of a lack of fire and desperation. In reality, Richards was taking his influence on a sub-par Rangers season very personally. The Rangers were failing to meet their season targets, and Richards was dissatisfied with his diminished production and lackluster play.
It wasn’t long ago — last Tuesday — that it all boiled over for Richards after the Blueshirts were handed a demoralizing 4-2 loss in Philadelphia. After speaking to the media, a despondent Richards sat alone in his locker stall with his head in his hands. Teammate Ryan McDonagh walked across to room to sit with Richards to offer support.
From that point, something changed. Things finally began clicking for the 32-year-old veteran briefly nicknamed “Broadway Brad.” In his past three games, Richards has collected four goals, three assists and seven points. Two of Richards’ assists came in Sunday’s 4-1 victory that eliminated the New Jersey Devils from playoff contention.
“I struggle with frustration sometimes,” Richards admitted on Sunday. “When you get a few bounces, you don’t go home frustrated. You wake up a little more positive, and you go to work in a better frame of mind — and that’s kinda what happened this week.”
Teammates Seeing A Change In Richards’ Play
McDonagh sees a noticeable difference in Richards’ play. At a crucial stage in the season, Richards is finally playing with the kind of confidence that made him an indispensable member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars.