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02-15-2013, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mahopac, NY
Originally Posted by
I've always thought that Richards would be a player who could be very effective into his late 30's simply because his game isn't based on his physical abilities as much as it is his hockey smarts, his vision and his passing. All he needs to do is to get those things back to normal and he will be fine. I'm hoping he can get it back soon though because we really need him to play the way he can.
I don't know if I agree with that. I think a player dependent on his smarts is more vulnerable to the aging process. If you lose just a bit of speed, quickness, and reaction time, your game deteriorates fast.
All athletes age differently. Some are able to retain their skills well into their thirties, whether it is a 90+ MPH fastball or skating abilities. Others do not. It is not determined by fitness, drive, or dedication. It seems like genetics. I don't question BR's dedication or effort or even his conditioning. I didn't question those qualities in either Redden's or Drury's cases. Both were athletes who as they aged just lost that edge, were unable to compensate, and their games fell apart.
Although BR is not "old" it is not unheard of for athletes his age to lose it.
This is a big problem for the Rangers as if his problems are age related, there is no way to rectify the situation. Although he might have good games or even a stretch of good games here and there, the general trend is downward. BR was not the same player last year he was in previous years and doesn't appear to be the same player this years as he was last year.
If true, the lesson to be learned here is simple: be very wary of signing free agents to fill high end positions (1st line forward, 1st line D) on the other side of 30.
I was completely in favor of signing BR although I always felt it a gamble. It was something the Rangers had to do, should have done, and did do. But if the trend continues, and I certainly hope my accessment in 100% wrong, a buyout may be in the works down the road and this will be looked at as a failed experiment.
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