Brad Richards sits out tonight. I'm his friend, so of course no one in New York could get a fair hearing from me. But for the record, here's my take. In 2011, Brad chose to sign with the Rangers against the advice of his agency. They certainly did not argue against New York, but they had laid out what they felt was a better fit with more money on the table. In the end Brad wanted to be closer to P.E.I., so his parents and his grandfather could stay up and watch the games. He knew John Tortorella, and he loved the idea of playing in an Original Six city. It brought riches. But as Martin Brodeur says in his book Beyond the Crease, "When I grew up, being an athlete wasn't about being rich. Now it's the first thing you know about a player." Brad's choice of vocation, like his selection of the Rangers, had nothing to do with money. Brad delivered. The Rangers won the East in the regular season. In the playoffs Brad led the team in scoring with six goals and 15 points. That was good for seventh overall in playoff scoring. His 71 shots on goal was second overall. The Rangers went deep, and it was Brad's third trip to the final four in seven seasons with Tampa, Dallas and New York. Eleven home playoff dates essentially paid for his contract in one spring. I'm sure you are aware that Brad won the Memorial Cup with Rimouski Oceanic in 2000. He was the league and playoff MVP. As his coach Doris Labonte said, "Brad's not there some of the time, he is there all of the time." Brad won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay and was playoff MVP. He won the World Cup that autumn. In 2006 he led the Canadian Olympic team in scoring in Turin. He is a winner who has always shared his time. In Dallas he had rookie James Neal live with him and taught him the ropes. This fall when I visited Brad to attend a charity event he had arranged, I saw that Steve Emminger was staying at Brad's. Training together, eating right and talking hockey 24/7. Emminger has played magnificently as the Rangers fought through the loss of Marc Staal. Look, Brad understands every veteran eventually meets with a healthy scratch. What upsets me is the ingratitude reflected in Tortorella's remark the other day in the New York Post. "Sometimes it's not all about Brad." That was uncalled for.
Ron MacLean: Brad Richards deserved better from Tortorella
CBC Sports | May 23