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-   -   Line Combos: It's time to put Richards and Gaborik together (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1101369)

Draft Guru 02-08-2012 01:33 AM

It's time to put Richards and Gaborik together
Since a 7 game point streak from Nov. 25th-Dec. 8th, Brad Richards has 10 points (6G, 4A) in the last 26 games. Including only 1 multi-point game. That's .38 points per game during that stretch, WELL BELOW his career average of .91 PPG.

We need to get more out of Richards.

I think it's time Torts puts him with Gaborik and keeps it that way for a few games. None of this "Oh it's not working after 2 shifts, time to switch it up" crap

Torts has been reluctant to split Gaborik-Stepan all season. Yes, they just had a big game on Sunday together but we're getting zilch out of Richards on the other lines. He doesn't have a true sniper to play with. He hasn't consistently clicked offensively with anyone, really. Not in any way that has produced goals on a regular basis.

We signed Richards to be our #1 center and an offensive catalyst. Torts needs to quit being so damn stubborn with him and STOP PLAYING HIM WITH RUPP, PRUST, FEDOTENKO, etc.

The "let me play him with grinders to help get him going" approach HAS NOT WORKED. It's time to scrap it. He's totally being misused.

Richards and Gaborik are the two offensive stars of the team. Put them out there together, leave them alone and let them FIGURE IT OUT themselves. I feel like he squashed the whole idea early in training camp and has never gone back to it other than the odd shift here or there. Never has started a game with them as a line nor even put them together in a 3rd period when we were struggling to score, like tonight.

I just don't get it. He's here for another 8 years. We NEED Gaborik and Richards to be able to play together.

The LW on their line could be Hagelin or even Anisimov or Dubinsky. Heck, I'd also be willing to try Stepan on the LW with Richards and Gaborik, and you can put Anisimov back at center and reunite him with Callahan and Dubinsky.

My biggest criticism of Torts this season is that he's so set in his ways, he's not willing to "think outside the box" like this.

Yes, we have been winning, we're 1st in the league and I understand the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" argument.

But before Sunday's 5 goal outburst, we went something like 14 straight games with 3 goals or fewer. Sunday's 5 goal effort was followed by being shutout tonight. We are 1st in the league in goals against. If we can get the offense jump started and the lines clicking, we'll be SO MUCH better than we are right now.

IMO, everything fits so much better from Line 1 to Line 4 if Richards and Gaborik can be a duo on the top line.

LotsOfHags 02-08-2012 02:27 AM

I think everyone on this board agrees with you. Lets write a petition and send it to Torts. The "System" is going to tire our players out by the time the playoffs roll around. Time to start carrying the puck into the offensive zone as well and lets ease down on all this dump and chase garbage. Yes we are the top team in our conference but I have a big feeling they will get tired fast.

SixGoalieSystem 02-08-2012 03:06 AM

I think you're probably right. It didn't work out well in the start of the season, but the team as a whole was terrible back then.

I think I'd like to see

Dubinsky - Richards - Gaborik
Anisimov - Stepan - Callahan
Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust
Hagelin - Mitchell - Rupp

I know you guys won't like Hagelin on the fourth line, and neither do I tbh, but i think those are our best lines if we're going to try reunite Richards with Gaborik.

On the other hand, I'm all for accountability, and frankly Brad Gomez has done nothing of late to deserve a spot on the first line. Still. i think it's worth a shot.

Callagraves 02-08-2012 03:58 AM


Do it.

Ola 02-08-2012 04:21 AM

If so, I would try this unit:

Let Richards have a free role and put a work horse between the two wings.

The problem with them two together early on were clearly that they had to work very hard and spend alot of time to get up ice, only to often miss a low percentage play resulting in them being forced to start over again.

But in the end, I still just don't belive in those two being a fit togehter.

Gaborik has two dimensions in his game. We all recognize them, i) his counter attack game and ii) his play and shot in the attacking zone.

His ability in i) is elite, like top 3 in the game. At the same time, there is not much room to play that game on a regular basis. You cannot be a threat on the counterattack on a shift by shift basis. Its the opposite, 2-3 times per game, maybe, you he gets a super quality scoring chance "out of no where".

His ability in ii) is not as elite. He is a tad too weak on the puck and he is not very effective when circling the puck in the attacking zone. There are definitely 20-30 forwards in this league who is better than Gaborik on the circle in the attacking zone. Right? From guys like Joe T to Getzlaf to AO to Kovalchuk and co. Gaborik is undoubtedly dangerous in the attacking zone, but many are better.

Brad Richards is a prototypical ii) player. He should be in the attacking zone. And there the interest's for the two collides. When Gabby is on the ice, you also have a big interest in constantly looking for that fast long pass up ice to him. Its a high risk play, and when you use it you probably suffer a 80% risk that the other team will end up with the puck instead of getting the puck down low with a safe play.

I said it when we got Richards -- Gabby is the most effective when he is the man on his unit. When much of the play circle around him. And with Richards its the same thing. And both kind of need alot, albeit diffrent kind, of support. When you play them with each other -- you loose alot on many accounts. Richards don't get to spend the amount of time in the attacking zone that he needs, and Gabby don't get as many long hail mary pass-attempts that he needs.

There is just a risk for that scenario. I wouldn't rule out putting the two of them together in a situation where nothing else is working. But not now.

Fanned On It 02-08-2012 04:38 AM

Honestly, the one thing I noticed after tonight's game (well I guess last night's game lol), is how lame our dump-and-chase strategy really is. Watching the devils just skate into our zone and drop a pass back to a higher forward or send it across to another winger and get a shot on goal made me wonder why we don't try and do that as well? When we dump and chase, we risk losing possession and at the same time put extra strain on our players physically. I don't know what it is about this Ranger team that maybe Torts thinks we CAN'T just lug the puck in and make a play, but I think it's worth a shot. Picture this: Stepan skates the puck into the zone, drops the puck off for Gabby, and he gets a nice shot on goal. Yeah, it may be "a perfect scenario" but I think we would get a lot more high % scoring opportunities if we adopted that type of playing style. I see the Pen's do it all the time, the Devils did it tonight. But we seem to be afraid to do it, too afraid to turn the puck over at the blue line, and if that's the case, then what kind of team do we really have?

But what am I saying... We've been dumping and chasing all season long so there's no reason for me to think that Torts would try a new strategy.

And besides... we are in 1st place :handclap:

NYR Sting 02-08-2012 04:55 AM


No point in mixing it up unless they'll be given enough time to develop something. But this playing of Richards with the grunts...it's a waste. Enough is enough. Size or no size, it might be time to give MZA another shot, also. Maybe the extra time in the A has given him a new insight.

Another option might be to move Callahan to the LW for a while and try Callahan-Richards-Gaborik. I have no doubt that he could be just as effective playing on the left side. He's far too smart a player for something so trivial to hamper his style.

haohmaru 02-08-2012 05:11 AM

Yeah, time to call up MZA and get a little more offensive talent into the lineup. Gaborik and Richards didn't mesh too well early on, but maybe it's time to make that change.

mike14 02-08-2012 05:19 AM


Originally Posted by Dubkov21 (Post 43787093)
I think you're probably right. It didn't work out well in the start of the season, but the team as a whole was terrible back then.

I was away for the start of the season and didn't get to watch the games, how long were they together for? Just looking at the boxscores (which isn't a great way to judge stuff I know), Richards had an assist on gabby goal in each of the first 4 games and even in the Ottawa debacle they both had a goal assisted by the other. Yeah it's a small sample size, but what were the problems? Was it a defensive thing or do the boxscores really not give an accurate reflection of what was going on?

msv957 02-08-2012 06:34 AM

Agreed. Richards has been a #1 center in the NHL for a long time now. He was signed to be the #1 center passing the puck to Gaborik. He is not being used in this role at all by Torts.

Move Stepan to the 2nd line center position already. It is not like Stepan is dominating at a PPG pace as the #1 center. Most likely Stepan's stats wont be affected much at all on the 2nd line

beastly115 02-08-2012 06:49 AM

I agree with you. Through this "rough patch" Gaborik has been the only player to play consistently well. The Devils put Kovalchuk and Parise together. Why can't we put Richards and Gaborik together? If anything, it might get Richards going.

Gaborik is neutered on his line because Stepan and Arty have been slumping.

Richards has been slumping and isn't going to break out of it playing with guys like Prust and Rupp.

Torts needs to pull his head out of his ass. Prust in the top 6 last night? Hagelin on the 4th line? Give me a ****ing break. This past week he's made a few questionable decisions, starting last week when he started Biron against the Devils.

ECL 02-08-2012 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by Dubkov21 (Post 43787093)
I think you're probably right. It didn't work out well in the start of the season, but the team as a whole was terrible back then.

That's exactly it. The entire team ****ing sucked. No one was going at all. Now that everyone is going, there's no need to keep misusing the guy. I haven't seen a player used as badly as him on this team in a long, long time.

JoeRangers 02-08-2012 07:49 AM

Its amazing with all the flip flopping of guys and lines, the one thing Torts hasnt done is put those 2 together. It really needs to be done. I'd do a Dubinsky - Richards - Gaborik line and see how it goes. Give it a few games. Switch Dubinsky out for someone else whatever but give the other two some games together. The offense really needs to get going. Maybe if those two get going 5 on 5 it'll help the PP.

True Blue 02-08-2012 07:50 AM


Originally Posted by Draft Guru (Post 43786149)
I just don't get it. He's here for another 8 years. We NEED Gaborik and Richards to be able to play together.

It certainly is worth a shot. And they need a period of time to play together. Stepan then plays with Callahan with any combination of Dubinsky, Hagelin & Anisimov as the LW.

silverfish 02-08-2012 08:07 AM

Agreed. You want to see Richards bust out of his slump? Get him away from offensive black holes like Rupp, Feds, Prust, Mitchell, etc...

And who knows, confidence at ES could lead to a more productive PP if Richards can overlap the confidence.

Stepan - Richards - Gabby
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Hagelin - Boyle - Prust
Feds - Mitchell - Rupp

Though in reality, I'd love to see Zuccs called up, given the third line RW spot and PP time...sit Mitchell, and play Rupp as 4th line center between Feds and Prust. I know that won't be happening though.

shelaur22 02-08-2012 08:18 AM

A few of the post-game articles that I've read stated that Torts actually benched Richards for most of the third period against the Flyers. I didn't even notice TBH. Says a lot.

Whoever said that Richards is being grossly misused (underused) is right. Is this what they're paying him for, to center the third and fourth lines? Maybe he's hiding an injury, maybe he's getting depressed... honestly, just trying to give him an out here. After seeing what Crosby's been going through, maybe Richards is still experiencing post concussion symptoms but attributing it to other things. Who knows. A few years back, he was struggling to get through games and thought he was depressed. Turns out he had mono. :shakehead

Kel Varnsen 02-08-2012 08:46 AM

We're winning. In Torts I trust. I think he doesn't want to mess up the chemistry stepan and gaborik seem to have together. Someone said something about richards being here for a while, stepan should be too... It's on Richards to start playing better, he's supposed to turn decent players into top players not be carried himself by a top player.

The point is to score goals, putting him with gabby won't lead to more goals from this team, it'll possibly just lead to a different guy getting the assists. How is that useful? So when you look at the stats it's more in line with what you expected going into the year? Stop it, we're winning. Torts knows what he's doing. He watches these guys more than we do. He's got a staff to talk this stuff over with, all of whom are better trained than us. Just chill out and enjoy the ride.

bubba5 02-08-2012 08:53 AM

Its Time for Richards to have a seat in the press box for 1 game! Can't wait for year nine!

dccuse 02-08-2012 08:55 AM


Originally Posted by haohmaru (Post 43787885)
Yeah, time to call up MZA and get a little more offensive talent into the lineup. Gaborik and Richards didn't mesh too well early on, but maybe it's time to make that change.

Agree its time.

nyrleetch 02-08-2012 09:27 AM

Yeah. Like others have said he's not going to break his slump with Prust or Rupp getting some shifts with him. Also call up MZA.

shelaur22 02-08-2012 09:30 AM

I'm wondering if Richards is going to get sent down at some point. Crazy talk, I know.

Tawnos 02-08-2012 09:34 AM


Originally Posted by nyrleetch (Post 43791641)
Yeah. Like others have said he's not going to break his slump with Prust or Rupp getting some shifts with him.

If I'm remembering right, Prust is the reason Richards missed out on an assist last night. Rush up ice, Richards to Dubinsky, Dubinsky cross-ice to Prust, wide-open side, shanked shot. Callahan and Gaborik both bury that chance.


JoeRangers 02-08-2012 09:38 AM


Originally Posted by shelaur22 (Post 43791779)
I'm wondering if Richards is going to get sent down at some point. Crazy talk, I know.

He has a NMC which means he cant be sent down.

Giglio NYR15 02-08-2012 11:00 AM

I just dont want to seperate stepan and gaborik because I like them 2 together.


Honestly think thats the best solution. Not to mention everytime we struggle hagelin is always our best offensive player, gotta get the guy minutes, he cant be on the 4th line. Richards wont come out of this funk playing with 4th liners, he needs to play with talented scorers.

Miller Time NYR 02-08-2012 11:06 AM

i agree we need more out of the two and their both great players im sure theyll figure it out.

im not the biggest zucc fan, in fact im really not that that high on him playing on this team they way we play but i think we need some more talent and thats what he has, id like to see him with dubi at C and hags on the wing for a couple games.

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