Brad Richards

Brad Richards after today’s skate: ‘I’m a Dallas Star’

Earlier today, we discussed rumors that Dallas Stars center Brad Richards would only accept a trade to the New York Rangers. When discussing rumors, it’s important to note that there can be rumblings of something happening even if an event never comes to fruition.

Either way, the slow movement in the market, potential problems caused by his no-trade clause and the Stars’ rumored high asking price indicate that the odds might be on Richards remaining in Dallas. Again, it’s not a guarantee, but that seems to be the way the general consensus is flowing with a couple hours to go (keep in mind that deals sometimes clog the news pipeline in the deadline’s waning moments).

One important factor that makes a confounding situation that much more complex is the fact that Richards has been dealing with concussion issues. Richards missed six games so far with the problem, but he worked out once again Monday. Mike Heika caught up with Richards after his morning skate, gathering his thoughts on his recovery. We’ll focus on how he feels about the trade rumors and his general future with the Stars, though.

Here’s Richards on whether he wants to stay or not:

“I’m a Dallas Star. These are my friends; these are my teammates. There’s no one on my side demanding anything or trying to do anything. I do understand, though, that Joe needs to do a job. He’s got to look out for what’s best for the franchise. That’s the business we’re in and it happens all the time. There’s no hard feelings. It still doesn’t mean I’ll waive my no-trade, but I told them all along that if he has something, I’ll look at it and try to make a decision on it.”

When asked if he has turned down an offer from the Stars, he said (I think he means owner when he says GM, but it does speak to the uncertainty of what could happen with a new owner):

“There’s nothing that has gained any traction or would change my stance on what we’ve said all along. Until I kind of see what’s going on here and who’s going to be the GM, who’s going to be running the team. There are a lot of questions. I have the right in the situation I’m in to ask those questions and I’m going to keep asking them. There’s no change here. I know people want to read more into it and they think there’s more to it, but there’s not. It’s gone this long and we’re this close to the summer. So seeing who’s going to be in charge of this makes sense to me in what I want to do.”

Well, there you go. Honestly, it would be a little surprising to see a player as important as Richards go with such little time remaining. Still, you never know. Richards has been open about the fact that he wants the Stars to clear up their ownership issues, so perhaps it’ll all work out in the long run. We shall see.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

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As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.