Needless to say, Richards leads the league in PP TOI/60 this year. Crosby and Malkin are the only other guys who are even close to him.
There comes a point where so much ice time is too much. The skating slows down, the mind fatigues. Also, who is drawing the best checking and worst matchups on the road and having to fight through them at even strength? Richards. It adds up.
As soon the Stars go on the PP they are essentially playing 4v4. They don't really have much of an advantage at all. Richards is doing the best he can certainly, but with negligible support or help from the defense he's going to be overtaxed and the PP as a whole will be ineffective. The 5th man on the PP can't be a black hole. This is why Larsen is so important to the team's success this season.
It's true, and it doesn't help the PP strategy lately has been "get it to Richards and have him fire from the point and hope for a screen/deflection." No other variety. It's becoming easy to ready/counter. The other pointman needs to be able to drive it, which we all know only Robi can.
Yeah the powerplay is way too Richards heavy. He's really not the type thats particularly great at being back there and dictating the entire pp. He's more of a get the puck fling it on net repeatedly type. There are times when the other pointman isn't even part of the powerplay, he pretty much stands around waiting. It also doesn't help that Richards isnt particularly good at keeping pucks in the zone so the other dman can't really pinch in deep.
Another problem, which aint getting corrected any time soon, is our lack of right shots. At most we have one right shot on the powerplay and thats the other dman who cant pinch. Powerplays are all about getting the dmen on the other team to bite and exploiting them being out of position. Not having right shot forwards means you don't have guys who can set up for onetimers and get those shots off before the dmen recover.
Yeah unlike last year the slide for Adam Larsson begins from a much loftier perch. If they can't beat Chicago without Hossa and Kane tonight this little run they've been on might be more indicative of a favorable schedule than the Stars themselves turning the corner.
I won't be concerned until he misses more than a week or two, but I'm pragmatic like that. If it's tightness, then it's tightness and the prescription is always rest. You worry if it becomes chronic, but why freak out until it has proven itself to actually be chronic?