In a way I got to feel for Brad Richards as if they do not get training camp started soon enough then the new New York Ranger is going to be expected to do something on a biblical scale. Wandering the web recently has been almost a laughfest to read some of the expectations that Ranger fans are putting on Richard's shoulders.
Oh well he wanted the big bucks so "Welcome to New York Brad Richards you are already a failure and you don't know it." Brad Richards is a very talented player and yes adding him to the Ranger lineup by all rights should improve the Rangers.
But really can some of these expectations be toned down just a little bit please? Brad Richards could have a very good season next year but there are going to be things that he will have no control over.
Let's start with Marian Gaborik because it sadly appears that Brad Richards first and most important job is going to be fixing Marian Gaborik's game. Still waiting for the first person to take into consideration that maybe just maybe the duo will not have a good chemistry together.
And this is a John Tortorella coached team which means it is almost a guarantee that while Richards and Gaborik may start out in training camp on the same line; odds are good they might not even make it out of the season opener as linemates.
What really is going to stink is if Gaborik does not regain his scoring touch that Richards will be to blame. One of these days we will see somebody actually say that Marian Gaborik has a role in finding his scoring touch.
Even better are those who are wanting to put Wojtek Wolski on the left side of Richards and now Richards is going to be asked to fix not just one player but two. Uh that is not why you are wanting Richards in your lineup so he can play "Mr. Fixit."
The other option is those who think the Rangers should just go out and another big goal scorer. No offense but exactly how are people planning to do such a thing?
At last look the Rangers only have about 702K in their piggie bank which is not even going to get you hung up on by another general manager. The other option is the one that comes from those who apparently forgot why the Rangers missed the playoffs for 7 years in a row not even a decade ago.
Brad Richards does not mean it is OK to start packaging up Chris Kreider and Dylan McIlrath in trade talks. In case some people missed it one of the reasons Richards is in Ranger blue is so when a Kreider does show up that he has a veteran to help show him the ropes.
Then there is those who already have Brandon Dubinsky penciled in on the left side not remembering the chemistry that Dubinsky has built up with both Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov.
Look the idea here is not to trash people but rather to suggest one takes a deep breath and takes a step backwards and examine the entire team as a whole. Yes the Rangers should have a good first line but the best way to help the first line be productive has to start by having other lines that will force the opposition to play defense against.
While Ranger fans know Brad Richards is a Ranger now, so do the other 29 teams in the NHL. It is a safe bet that every night other team's best line or checking line will be lining up to stop the Richards line.
Leave the DAC line alone as they are needed to take the pressure of Richards and whoever winds up as his linemates. If you already have lines with an already established chemistry why in the world are you breaking them up just for Richards?
Now instead of building 1 line you are going to have to reshape the entire team when it is not needed as an option. And for some reason Derek Stepan is turning into the forgotten man on the Ranger roster.
Maybe we should get Stepan one of those "Do you know me?" commercials to do so people will remember that Stepan had a pretty good rookie season of 21-24-45. Other than Petr Prucha can anyone remember the last time a Ranger rookie had 20 goals or 45 points?
You have to go back to 1999-2000 for that information so why isn't Stepan being seen as an important part of this current roster? Most of you were talking up how great it would be for the future first line center to learn from Richards?
Nobody is trying to be harsh here but cmon folks slow down as there is a long way to go between now and October 7th. Relax enjoy the possibilities of what should be a pretty good Ranger season.
But hate to break it to some fans but Brad Richard will not walk on water nor will he find a way to break the gridlock in Washington DC.
OK you hate the New York Islanders which if you are a New York Ranger fan living on Long Island is what you are supposed to do. But on August 1st be a Ranger fan and Vote Yes.
Why well for starters if the Islanders were to relocate as happy as you may be when that moment occurs you will be hurting the Rangers and here is how. The Rangers because they are in the middle between Long Island and New Jersey have two locations where road games are effectively turned in home games.
Do not discount those 4 games where all the Rangers need to do is ride a bus from the Garden out to Long Island. It is 4 games where they get to sleep in their own beds; 4 games where they don't have to jump on an airplane to get home.
As someone who travels to cover prospect games I can tell you from first hand experience how hard it can be to drive (or fly) all night to play the next night. Anytime you can cut down on travel you help reduce wear and tear on the body.
Use this year's schedule as a great example of reducing wear and tear. The 2 games in Europe then a game on Long Islander followed by the Northwest Canadian trip all in October.
No 2nd west coast swing this year (No San Jose) and even better getting go look at February and it is almost an entire month where the Ranger barely travel. The longest trip of the month is to Boston.
If you do not think that does not help the Rangers think again as less travel means better rested Henrik Lundqvist in April.
Help your Ranger franchise by keeping the Islanders on Long Island so you can keep getting those 4 extra home games a season. Heck your taxes will be lower with a yes vote and you help the Rangers not a bad deal at all.
(Richards courtesy of the New York Rangers)
4 hours ago