Brad Richards this and Brad Richards that.
Did you think it was over so soon, Dallas Stars fans? What else do we have to talk about as the calendar flips to August?
It's only just begun, and it likely won't stop until Christmas when after half a season this club emerges through the fog left by #91 and cements it's new identity. If it's a good one hopefully it will be a lot sooner than that, but with a new coach and a shifting core, any conversation about the way things are versus the way things were will be peppered with references to the guy now wearing a Rangers sweater and how he used to do it; Like the girl you dated who wouldn't stop talking about her ex.
Speaking of which, any good breakup is tinged with at least some yelling and screaming, and this one has had very little of either. At least so far. Circumstance and timing saw Stars fans watch impotently as Richards fled to the loving embrace of that flighty temptress known as the Eastern Conference and her soft underbelly of opponents and easy travel schedule. Who can blame him for that? The result is that most are still trying to figure out where to point the finger and where to direct the aforementioned yelling.
Some attempted to release their frustration on the man himself. "Why wouldn't he waive his NTC if he was just going to end up with the Rangers anyway?" they said. Many others worship at the church of Blame Tom Hicks, and their book might have some answers for you that make a whole lot of sense, if you're so inclined.
The online media residing in basements outside the state of Texas would instead have you direct your angst at Joe Nieuwendyk for not trading a concussed Brad Richards in February when he had the chance. We've discussed this at length, and the case for keeping him then still holds after the fact. I won't waste further time on it here. Joe Nieuwendyk did the right thing for the situation as it was at the time.
Whichever camp you're in, revisionist history has already begun setting in if the conversations all over the web are any indication. "The Stars would never have gone nine years anyway." "We should have traded him for anything when we had the chance." "You know, I think the Stars will be better in the long run without him." "Maybe the power play problems were his fault..."
How much of it is true will be known somewhere down the line. I'd love to put a pole up asking something along the lines of "in retrospect, should the Stars have traded Brad Richards at the deadline?" but lately such things have been over-run by those with malicious intent, so we'll leave it to the discussion in the comments.
The yelling and screaming accompanying most break ups isn't going to happen here, anyway. We just didn't get the timing right. It wasn't right for either one of us. We'll cry into a beer either way, because that's what people do after a breakup. Not because they think that was "the one" that just got away, (as he was for Tampa Bay) but rather for the reason most people cry after breakups: They just don't want to be alone.
Luckily we have a guy named Jamie Benn to cheer us right back up again.
This Monday morning Stars-conversation-starter/brain-tickler remains, however: How will Stars history judge Joe Nieuwendyk and Brad Richards for the events of recent months and how do you view the situation as it fades into the rear-view mirror? Let's engage in some group therapy as we waste another 100 degree day away on the road to September...