Brad Richards Fitting In Nicely With the Blackhawks

Brad Richards at Blackhawks training camp. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

As the Rangers and Blackhawks get set to face-off in preseason action tonight, we check in on former Ranger, Brad Richards.

“It wasn’t hard for me to love Chicago.” – Brad Richards

Last year’s post season left most NHL teams with limited cap-space and for Brad Richards, he found himself with a buyout from the Rangers. Chicago came calling with a one-year contract worth $2 million.

Richards jumped at the chance, telling press outlets that if weren’t for the salary cap, every player would be in Chicago.  But will his choice be to his detriment?

Richards is warmly received by fans in Chicago (Bill Smith/Chicago Blackhawks)

At 34 years old, Richards is a veteran hockey player and a Stanley Cup winner with former teammate Martin St. Louis and Rangers’ recently acquired Dan Boyle when they were with Tampa Bay.  The Hawks were looking for Richards’ leadership quality to run the second line with the 2013 Stanley Cup Champs searching a return to glory.
Playing with Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, Richards is aiming to be the number two center behind Jonathan Toews. The second line proved to be a weaknesses last season versus the center rich L.A. Kings.

A beautiful view from the Trump Hotel and Tower, in Chicago, reportedly where Brad Richards lives. Courtesy of VHT Real Estate Photography

Coincidentally, according to Patrick Kane, Richards has moved into his building. Play together, live together may be the difference in finding that early season chemistry. His news digs appear comparable to the $8 million he left behind in lower Manhattan. All in all, Richards seems to be settling in nicely on and off the ice.
“Sometimes things can just click right away, sometimes they take time and sometimes it never works — you just never know.
-Richards, to the Chicago Tribune.
After playing on Tuesday night for the Blackhawks it is unlikely he will face his former mates tonight. Still, if he does, will things click for Richards when he plays against his former team?

Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi will play in Chicago against former teammate Brad Richards. (Anthony J. Causi/NY Post)

Pressure will mount if he suits up in Chicago, as rumored captain Ryan McDonagh, along with Dan Girardi and Dominic Moore will look to shut him down. Below is the lineup for the Rangers versus the Blackhawks.
  • Chris Bourque, JT Miller, Mats Zuccarllo
  • Nick Tarnasjy, Dominic Moore, Ryan Haggerty
  • Marek Hrivik, Oscar Lindberg, Lee Stempniak
  • Anthony Duclair, Derick Brassard, Rick Nash
  • Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi
  • John Moore, Conor Allen
  • Kevin Klein, Dylan McIlarath
  • Henrik Lundqvist
  • Cedrick Desjardins
On the other hand, the line of Richards with Kane and Saad have shown chemistry early. Aside from clicking in practice, Richards notched an assist on a beautiful breakaway feed to none other than Patrick Kane. If this persists, the Hawks will have found a UFA steal this offseason in Richards.
Tonight’s contest will mark the first of three games that we will see the Blackhawks and Rangers play this season, and if we are lucky, hopefully we will meet again in the Stanley Cup finals.
Note: Brad Richards makes his Garden return on Wednesday, March 18th.
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