Richards not surprised to see how different things are in Dallas
NOV 21, 2013 1:27p ET
And not surprisingly, the ex-Stars centerman has mixed emotions about his time with the Stars.
"Yeah, it was great when I first got here. We went on a good run, lost to Stanley Cup champions in six games. I kind of thought that would happen a little more than it did and that got frustrating with ownership and all that stuff. They're back on track and it's good to see," Richards said.
Only four players-captain Jamie Benn, defenseman Trevor Daley, goaltender Kari Lehtonen and defenseman Stephane Robidas, remain from when Richards played in Dallas. But he admits he's not terribly surprised at how much turnover there's been in terms of coaches, front office personnel and players since his departure.
"Not really, not in that situation because of the way things were going here. That was part of the reason it took a while to make a decision going into free agency because you wanted to see the direction of the team and didn't know what was going to happen," Richards said.
Richards has faced the Stars once already as a Ranger, that game coming during the 2011-12 season at Madison Square Garden. But he still keeps tabs on one of his former clubs and the veteran center who won a Stanley Cup during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning definitely likes the direction the Dallas organization is now heading in.
"I think now that they're more on solid footing and going on the right direction, so you can kind of see a lot of this happening. No one really knew what was going on. It was a little chaotic. Like I said, it's good to see everybody from staff, they're all excited," Richards said. "They love working with the new people so it's good. It's a good place to play. You hope they get it on the right track."
No. 91 also talked a bit about his time in Dallas skating on a line alongside Loui Eriksson and James Neal, both of whom are also no longer with the Stars. Eriksson was sent to the Boston Bruins in the July 4 trade that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas while Neal left for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a pre-deadline deal in 2011 that sent Alex Goligoski to Big D.
Richards has nothing but great memories of skating alongside Loui and the Real Deal, two guys he remains in close contact with even today.
"We had a great line and I loved playing with those guys and it just seemed that got dismantled quickly too. But yeah, I loved playing with Loui and James. I had fun playing. I had some good seasons. When you're not in the playoffs and things are crazy up top, it just gets frustrating," Richards said. "That one year we should have made it, it was almost impossible not to make the playoffs. We found a way not to. That left a little of a damper on it, but besides that I had a lot of fun."
Earlier in the week, Benn said how much he had learned from Richards during their two seasons as teammates with the Stars. Richards clearly has immense respect for the new Dallas captain, and threw a little love in No. 14's direction for how much he has continued to progress both on and off the ice since the end of their time as teammates in Dallas.
"Yeah, he's a great player. Saw that a long time ago. He wasn't near as much work as say James was off the ice, but he was still young mentally. But he kind of sat back and always was observing and watching people. You could tell he was soaking a lot of things in early," Richards said.
"(Jamie is) a very respectful young player, which it's 50-50 now sometimes to be honest with you. Some guys come in and think they know it all, but he was not like that and you just see him growing better and better on and off the ice every year. It's great for him to be a captain. He'll help out that situation for a long time," Richards said.
+ SHOW COMMENTS +