Just as head coach John Tortorella worried it might, the lockout may indeed have screwed up Brad Richards.
At least, that’s what Richards hinted at today as the Rangers met with the media for the final time this year after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins.
“I didn’t feel normal all season,” said Richards, who was made a healthy scratch for Games 4 and 5 versus the Bruins.
The 33-year-old center also said he was in shape and ready to play in September. But, of course, the season didn’t start until much later.
Unlike many other NHLers, Richards didn’t play overseas during the work stoppage.
“I worry about our older guys like Richie and [Mike Rupp] who aren’t playing [in Europe],” Tortorella told The New York Post on Oct. 23. “It’s tough and they need to stay on top of it.”
Richards had 34 points in 46 regular-season games and just one goal in 10 playoff appearances.
To be clear, Richards wasn’t using the lockout as an excuse. He says he’s got to start over and will begin training in a week.
As for the buyout speculation, he said there’s nothing he can do about that, but that he didn’t sign in New York to play a year and a half. Whatever management decides, he’ll be playing hockey somewhere next year.
Related: Three reasons the Rangers might buy out Richards
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.