It’s been one month since the trade. You guys know I was really against messing with the chemistry of this team to get a player who might make things better in the playoffs. When the trade happened, several people told me that I would come to love the trade, that the guys we gave up weren’t really necessary, that everything would be okay, etc.
It may not be fair to judge this trade as a failure one month into it, but if Richards had been the offensive machine everyone said he was, the verdict after one month would be that the trade was an excellent idea.
Since giving up Smitty, Jeffy, and Jussi we have won 3 games. Since getting Richards we have won 2.
The last time we scored a 3rd period goal was March 1st.
After Richards’ first game with 5 assists, he only has 4 points.
One month later, I am still upset. I still don’t completely understand why Brett and Les thought we needed Richards in the first place. The goal was to get a winger to play with Mike Modano, not get another center who seems incapable of playing wing with Modano. The line of Brenden-Modano-Richards played okay hockey together, but splitting up Morrow and Ribeiro is stupid with the way they’ve been playing all year long. Brett said Richards could “win the first round for us”, but now I’m worried as to whether or not we will actually make the playoffs. And Richards isn’t doing anything to help that effort.
I’ve seen Richards in person twice. The first game, against Trashville, on March 1st was one of his first games with the team so I reserved any judgement since he was obviously still adjusting to being with the team. However, he seemed to have “adjusted” by the time I saw him against the Ducks on the 19th. He looked completely inept out on the ice. He can’t stickhandle to save his life and he seemed to hang back on every play.
The absence of the guys we got rid of is having a bigger effect on this team than most people thought. Marty is back to playing the way he did before Smitty became his backup. If he plays poorly, there are no consequences for him because Smitty is not there to take his place. We don’t even know what Holmqvist can do for the team because Tippett won’t let him play. Yes, he played poorly the one period he got to play, but how many periods has Marty collapsed in since the trade? Somehow, we are still 1st in the league for penalty kill, but it’s taken quite a hit with Jeffy leaving and Otter getting suspended. I no longer have the confidence in the PK that I did when Jeffy and Ott were the first PK unit.
I’m sick of reading things saying that our defense has gone downhill lately because our rookies are “tired”, “overwhelmed”, “not working hard enough”, etc. We do need Boucher and Zubie back. But when they come back, Daley and Norstrom need to sit because they are the two defensemen who consistently let the team down in the defensive zone. It’s not just the defense that’s gone downhill: It’s the defense, offense, goaltending, and coaching all working together on that front.
This team is imploding, and they need to get it together now.