Richards: ‘I didn’t feel normal all season’

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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