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02-25-2012, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by NYR Sting View Post
Let's call a spade a spade. Last season, the Rangers were 8th, barely. They added Richards, a move that even the most ardent Richards supporters called just one piece of a still incomplete puzzle. Expectations were for a 4th-6th place season. The team is 1st in the East and has been, or right up there, for most of the season. There is only one significant difference between last year's roster and this year's roster: Richards.

I love how people are getting on him and the team for not being good enough, when they are having more success than anyone expected them to this season.

Let's call a spade a spade. Richards has spent most of his career playing with players like St. Louis on his wing, or Eriksson and Neal. He's spent most of this season playing with Callahan and either an offensively inept Dubinsky, Fedotenko, or a rookie Hagelin. Always putting up much of his points on PPs, he plays on one of the league's worst extra man advantage units, something that can hardly be blamed solely on him. The Rangers play an extremely conservative system, and his line routinely faces other team's top lines. It just doesn't make any sense to expect Richards' production to match his stats prior to coming here. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that there are very real circumstances causing Richards' numbers to decline this season, just as there is overwhelming evidence showing that his mere presence is the single biggest difference between last season's mediocrity and this season's success.
Sorry the difference is not Richards, it is a Vezina performace by Hank this season. Richards gives us a little depth at center now, yes, but not worth the 9 year deal we will be really suffering thru in a few years.

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