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.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.