When the Kings determined that Simon Gagne wouldn’t play in tonight’s exhibition game, who did they turn to as a replacement? Brad Richardson, of course. Nothing new there. During his three years with the Kings, Richardson has basically filled every position possible, from first-line center to fourth-line winger and everything in between. Entering training camp, Richardson would seem to be in line for a spot on the third or fourth line — he’s been practicing with Trevor Lewis and Kevin Westgarth, mostly — but everyone knows that in a pinch, Richardson is the default fill-in player for almost any situation…
RICHARDSON: “That’s the role I’ve had the last couple years. If it’s the first, second, third, fourth line, I’ve been able to fill in on any of those lines. I guess that’s nice to have in your back pocket. It makes you a valuable asset to have. I’m just excited to go out there and play again. It’s been a while. I think everybody is fired up to get back out there and have some action again.”
Question: How do you approach this camp? There’s quite a bit of depth here, and veteran guys. What are your expectations?
RICHARDSON: “Well, I came in the same way I do every year, just trying to come in in the best shape I can. You’re trying to make a good impression. Even though you’ve been in the league, you’re trying to show them that you can be a really effective player and that you can keep progressing as a player. That’s the key, not to stay where you are but to try to get better in certain areas. That’s what I’m working toward. I’ve been on the first line, so that’s the goal I guess, is to keep playing at a high level.”
Question: In that playoff series, you and your line were a big part of the success that the team did have. Were you able to draw on that in the summer and take some confidence from it?
RICHARDSON: “For sure. That was good. i thought our line played really good in that series. It was a tough loss, obviously, but personally it was a chance for me, when Kopi got hurt, to step up and play my natural position — which is center — and I really felt comfortable playing that again. I think I got a chance to show the coaching staff and all the people here that I can play an effective role with those kind of minutes. That’s just something that gives them, when someone gets hurt again, they can throw me in there and be confident that I can get the job done. It definitely helped, confidence-wise, to show myself that I can play at that level.”
Question: You got the contract done this summer, a two-year deal. Did you want to have that extra security there?
RICHARDSON: “It’s definitely nice. I love playing here. I love this city and I’ve kind of grown with all the guys here for the last few years. We’re really tight in here and it’s a lot of fun. I would have been unrestricted at the end of this year, but I’m really happy here and it’s nice to have that security, being around what’s familiar and what you really like.”