Tonight, Brad Richardson gets a chance to return to Honda Center, where it basically all started for him this season. Richardson had played 26 games before Dec. 1 but had not recorded a single point. Then, he had a second-period assist and scored the game-winning goal in the third period. That game started a remarkable rise for Richardson, who went from being a borderline fourth-line player to being, at one point, a first-line left winger.
Richardson will continue to skate with Wayne Simmonds, but they will flip centers and pick up Jarret Stoll. This morning, Terry Murray reflected on how far Richardson has come since early December.
MURRAY: “That’s when he started to show that he was the type of player he kept telling me he was. The confidence, the ability to check, be responsible and used in special teams, penalty killing in particular. And showing some skill level with the puck. He has played himself into the situation that he’s in right now. He was never in my doghouse. It’s just that I came in last year and we needed to change some things around, and everybody had to buy in, and he wasn’t able to get the job done. Clearly, this year he has become an important player.”
Also, Murray was asked about that Dec. 1 game in particular, and whether Richardson had needed some points in order to jump-start his season…
MURRAY: “Again, last year I asked the players to really buy into the checking side of the game. It didn’t matter to me, at that time, about goals, assists, points, per se. If you do the right stuff without the puck, you’re going to get your opportunities. As he moved through the early part of this season, you could see the skill level that was there, and that the confidence was starting to grow with playmaking and with the puck.
“Whenever you’re seeing that in a player, the hard work, that he really cared and he was buying in on the grit and the checking side of the game, then it’s important, I think, to show the confidence and let him continue to work his way through it. He started to chip in a goal here and there and basically started to take off.”