In the eyes of many fans, and perhaps Rangers management as well, Brad Richards, who played for John Tortorella in Tampa, is the big center that Rangers could use.

               Earning $7.8 million this season, one in which he is on pace for 94 points (36 goals and 58  assists) Richards will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, barring a trade. But the Stars are playing extremely well, and a trade is unlikely.  On top of that, the ownership situation is muddled and Richards, who will be 31 in May, has a no-trade clause.

              "I have full control of anything that's going to happen, that keeps me at peace. If I didn't, I'd probably be a little more worried about it,": Richards said today. "Right now we're playing good and winning and I don't know what's going to get done or not done, and someday, something has to happen and if I'm not here anymore, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

              I asked him if he has authorized his agent to speak with GM Joe Nieuwendyk about an extension.

            "No. They talk about the situation here in Dallas about ownership, but there's been no negotiating." 

              Is that OK with you? "Yeah, it's going to be a process. Obviously, we're in a better situation than we were at the start of the year, but it's a unique situation, it's not an ideal situation. I'm not trying to deal with it right now with everything going so good, I'll leave that up to my agent and those guys. I can sleep easy because in the end, it'll be my decision what all happens. If I stay here the rest of the year, it still doesn't mean anything."

              The Rangers, of course, who would have to clear substantial cap space to sign him long-term.

              Richards said he was expecting a challenging game and praised their work ethic and Henrik Ludnqvist.  "Obviously, I know their coach, these guys are going to be all over the ice, working hard, skating hard, a relentless-type mentality, they're always going to hard to play against, they have a great goalie.  We've had a little struggle here at home lately... but we don't think we've not played good hockey."


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