The Kings liked Brad Richardson enough to sign him to a two-year contract this past summer, but this season hasn’t gone the way anyone hoped. Richardson has zero goals and one assist in 19 games, and has been a healthy scratch in seven of the last eight games. With Ethan Moreau going on waivers today, Richardson will get another look tomorrow, as he is expected to play left wing on the third line, alongside Jarret Stoll and Trent Hunter. For Richardson, who became a lineup regular two seasons ago and has double-digit goal potential, it’s an opportunity to show that he should be playing, not watching.
RICHARDSON: “I’m not going to lie. I was frustrated. I thought I played pretty well. To be honest, I couldn’t get a bounce. It just seemed like I was shooting the puck, getting lots of shots, but pucks weren’t going in. I understand that if you’re not producing, you’ve got to make some changes, but I still felt like I deserved to be in the lineup. I work hard every night. That’s the way it is. He’s the coach and he’s got to make decisions. I know they’re not easy. They’re tough decisions and we have a lot of guys, so it’s never easy, but it’s obviously frustrating. I do have to score and find a way to get some points here, because we need some guys to start chipping in and find some other ways to score. I’m a big part of that, so I have to do better.’’
Question: That’s just how it has to be, right? You just play your game and hope that the bounces even out in the long run?
RICHARDSON: “You hope that. [laughs] It doesn’t seem like it’s doing that. It’s been tough. It’s not just me. A lot of guys have been gripping their sticks a little tighter than usual. Yeah, you just try to keep playing your game. Hopefully, you keep shooting and eventually you just get a greasy goal — it goes off someone, or whatever. If you get one, I can start scoring, because usually I get on a streak. Hopefully it starts tomorrow.’’
Richardson and Trevor Lewis have been in a similar boat this season, as two bottom-six forwards who have been in and out of the lineup. Lewis played a fourth-line role last night, but he will be replaced by Kevin Westgarth against Dallas. Terry Murray spoke at length about Richardson and Lewis…
MURRAY: “What I need from both of those guys — and I’m not talking out of school, because I’ve had the meetings with them and it’s very clear to them — is I need more grit. I need more of that harder play along the boards, winning more puck battles, be more of a confrontational player. And that’s a little out of character, but when you’re not a big goal scorer, there’s a need for that kind of play in the game today, to recover pucks. Because a lot of times you’re outnumbered. You’ve got three on you. You’ve got two D and sometimes a tracker on you in the corner, and that’s a little unusual, based on the way the game has been played for 100 years. Now it’s going to a more aggressive attitude. So you have to be really hard, really strong, heavy sticks, and that’s what you have to do to compete.’’
Question: So with them, it’s not just about the scoring…
MURRAY: “I bring some comparables to them. I look at the Detroit game that we played recently, and clips of Abdelkader and Helm. I just need those guys to be very similar. Their size, their speed, their numbers. I see those two guys in Detroit being very effective players because of that heavy, hard play, in your face and relentless on the puck. And that’s what we need from those two guys in order for them to be in the lineup on a consistent basis.’’