Brind'amour was never THE go-to guy on his team, whereas Richards has been in two cities now, both of which were Stanley Cup Contenders. People are choosing (or are too young) to remember Brind'Amour as Captain of a Stanley Cup winner.
Not the fact that he was a second or third liner for most of his career. In Philly, as the primary scorer behind the Legion of Doom line, and in Carolina as an older veteran asked to play a strong two-way game.
He never played more than about 4 seasons as an impact 1st liner on a good team.
Mike Richards has already played 3-4 seasons as an impact 1st liner on very good teams. Last year was an anomaly, and the year Giroux broke out, Richards' last in Philly, he was relegated to a lesser role (but Giroux is one of the top-5 Cs in the league).
By the time it's all said and done, Richards will have a more impressive impact, assuming he stays healthy and plays well into his late 30s.
Of course Brind Amour was stuck behind Lindros. Those Philly teams of the 90's were better than Richards' Philly squads. Also Richards was certainly not the go to guy on LA in the middle, that was clearly and easily Anze Kopitar. I really like Richards game but i take Brind Amour here. The biggest reason is Brind Amour had 18 seasons of very good NHL play. I'd also say he was a bigger reason Carolina won the cup than Richards was with LA IMO. Rod the bod was always a premier two way talent, and to have the longevity he did was truly a testament to his outstanding conditioning and talent. I really don't get the 3rd liner comment, he was pretty much never that, and if he was ever third on a teams depth chart (excluding his last season and first few, but even then he was near a ppg in his rookie season) it was because the team obviously had unreal depth.