By John Vogl
John Tortorella called Brad Richards this morning. It was a wake-up call of the wrong kind.
The New York Rangers' coach told Richards he'd be scratched for tonight's game against the Bruins. Boston has a 3-0 series lead and could end the Rangers' season.
"I don't know if surprised is the right word for it," Richards told reporters. "I'm disappointed."
The center, who earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP while winning the Stanley Cup with Tortorella in Tampa Bay, has one goal in 10 playoff games. He's in the second year of a nine-year, $60 million contract.
"Nothing's over," Richards said. "Work harder and try my best to never let it happen again."
The decline could lead to a buyout, though Richards put up 11 goals and 34 points in 46 games during the regular season. The Rangers, who bought out Wade Redden this year, have one compliance buyout remaining. It would cost $24 million.