Brad Richards

Brad Richards refuses to waive no-trade clause

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It’s official: Brad Richards will not be waiving his no-trade clause before free agency opens on July 1st. Richards’ and his agent Pat Morris told Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk that he would not approve of any trades before the unrestricted agent hits the open market in a week. Predictably, Nieuwendyk isn’t pleased by having his hands tied—but there’s little he can do in this situation:

“It’s disappointing, but you move forward and work on to the next issue.”

The decision makes sense from Richards’ point of view. Instead of waiving the no-trade clause (that he negotiated when he signed his contract), he’s waiting to hit the open market as this year’s prized treasure. If he hasn’t decided where he’d prefer to play, then there’s no reason to waive the no-trade clause simply to negotiate with a team when he may want to negotiate with another team on July 1. It’s pretty simple: he wants to wait until all of the suitors are free to make offers; then choose his future accordingly. With his play on the ice over the course of his career, he’s earned the opportunity.

Fans in Dallas may be a little less understanding throughout the entire situation. They see a player who probably won’t re-sign with their team—and refuses to let their team acquire any assets in return. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing they a) missed the playoffs, b) didn’t trade him at the deadline when there could have been a huge return, and c) will watch the best player on their team walk away for nothing.

There are rumors that Richards could end up on any number of teams next season. It’s been well publicized that he has a relationship with Rangers head coach John Tortorella from their days in Tampa. The Toronto Maple Leafs have repeatedly been mentioned since they have cap space, deep pockets, and could use a marquee player for their passionate fans. He may end up back in Tampa and the LA Kings could still enter the bidding war. And those are just the teams we hear about. There’s always the possibility of a team coming out of nowhere and making him an offer he can’t refuse.

It’s no wonder he wants to keep his options open.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.