I understand that Brad Richards has not played well for the Rangers in the eyes of John Tortorella. There’s a reason he’s been demoted and given minimal minutes. But now it’s come to this:
With this move, we’re left to believe one or a couple of a few things about the well-compensated captain’s situation:
A) John Tortorella is right right in his assessment that the Rangers are better served with Brad Richards not playing at all. They’re better off with Arron Asham, or Mats Zuccarello or whoever they decide is more deserving than him.
B) John Tortorella is right that he’s not playing well, but wrong in healthy scratching him because he’s at least better than whichever 12th forward you plug in for him.
C) John Tortorella is entirely wrong (and has likely hurt the play of Richards, or at least the team, with his management of him).
D) John Tortorella likes attention.
Personally, I subscribe to B. I also subscribe to C and D, though. “Over-coaching” is a word that springs to mind.
The point that I made on the podcast about Richards was pretty basic: if you’re John Tortorella, you either believe that Brad Richards is a good NHL player playing poorly, in which case you should play him because good players who’ve been playing badly will have an over-correction of sort to get back to their average (or at least will play closer to how they normally do),
You believe the player playing badly is just a bad hockey player, in which case this “bad” is normal and you can expect to see more of the same and therefore no correction.
Brad Richards is not a “bad” hockey player. Quite good, in fact.
If Richards has been playing bad (it’s tough to tell given his usage of late, tough to get into a game as a skill guy playing eight minutes), then it’s only a matter of time before he has a good game. By putting him in the stands, you avoid getting the guy’s bounce-back games, piss him off in the process, and in Tortorella’s case, probably make one of your last Become The Center of Attention moves of your time with the Rangers.
I think making him a healthy scratch is intentionally fielding a lesser line-up, which is putting yourself ahead of the team as coach, which is selfish and wrong.