After the clinic that he organized on Staten Island today, Richards and several other Rangers vented their frustration over the NHL lockout, which shows no signs of ending soon.
“I didn’t expect for it to be this long,” he said. “And for Gary (Bettman) to come out with that comment about taking another two weeks off…is mind-boggling. I don’t know what good that’s going to do. We need to get back to the table as soon as possible… It seems like they don’t want to listen.”
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said the proposed two-week moratorium, “doesn't make any sense. I don’t see the point behind that. I know we want to negotiate.” Added Anton Stralman: “I think it’s stupid…the players are holding strong. We’re just looking for a fair deal.”
Richards said that the situation is far different than the last lockout. “In 2004, the gap was huge; in the league, things had to change. Now, we’ve changed a lot from what the deal we played in. We’re not that far apart, I don’t see the need in stringing it along. They just keep wanting more. I don’t know where it stops.”
After sitting in on meetings last Friday, Richards noted: “There’s people on the (owners’ negotiating) committee who signed (players to) contracts they don’t want two hours before the lockout started. It makes you wonder. Boston signed two or three guys and Washington signed a guy. If it was such as bad system, why did they rush to sign them before the deadline?”
But Richards said he doesn’t “single out certain guys (owners), I don’t know where it’s coming from, some of those guys love hockey; I don’t know them.” Then, referring to the Commissioner, he said: “There’s one face that’s been through three lockouts. I know he’s trying to do his job, but it seems like it’s the only tactic they have.”