Brad Richards

Richards has reached out to Tortorella, ‘but there’s been no talking’


It appears the Brad Richards-John Tortorella relationship is still a tad acrimonious.

Months after the Rangers head coach made Richards a healthy scratch during the Stanley Cup playoffs, Richards told the New York Post he’s unsuccessfully tried to contact to his former bench boss.

“I reached out,” Richards told The Post. “But there’s been no talking.”

Tortorella, who was fired from the Rangers gig in in late May, appeared to have issues with Richards throughout the lockout-shortened campaign, all of which reached a head during New York’s second-round playoff loss to Boston, in which Richards was dropped from the lineup entirely in Games 4 and 5 after playing sparingly in Games 1-3.

There appears to be a new wrinkle, though.

The Post reports Tortorella thought “that Richards should have played in Europe during last year’s three-month lockout.” If accurate, this really accentuates how long (and deep) the rift between the two went.

In October 2012, less than a month into the work stoppage, Tortorella was already voicing his concerns about players losing their edge and the “mindset from the New York Rangers that defines us.”

After reading that, it’s not surprising to hear that Torts was irate that Richards — one of the veteran leaders of the team — failed to play overseas and keep in shape while fellow Blueshirt teammates (Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, Rick Nash) did.

Of course, Richards was just one of New York’s over-30 veterans that opted not to play overseas, along with Marian Gaborik, Mike Rupp and Henrik Lundqvist.

Of course, Gaborik and Rupp got traded mid-season…so yeah.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen