The Stars' Brad Richards: 'Safe Is Death' (Almost)
by Mike Fisher
Thu, Oct 8, 2009, 05:40 PM
“Last year,’’ says NHL superstar Brad Richards of what was to be his first full season in Dallas, “was a debacle. A freakish debacle.’’
As the Stars’ season gets underway, I talk with the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner (that’s hockey talk for “MVP of the playoffs’’) about debacles and freakishness, “Safe Is Death’’ and the Stars’ style, about catching lobsters and about savoring fine wine:
Fish: Last year, you broke your right hand, patched it up with a brace and came back for one game before somehow breaking the other hand and ending your season. You’ve never been an injury-prone guy, but in Dallas you’ve had shoulder, mono, wrist, hand, hand. …’’
Richards: “Last year was a debacle. A freakish debacle. As you get a little older (Richards is 29) I guess you have to deal with some of that stuff. Luckily, right now is the freshest I’ve felt going into a season in a long time.’’
Fish: As someone with your salary and someone with your status, I know you put a lot of pressure on yourself to excel, to be better than you were last year, or even last night. How much of that pressure is internal and how much is external?
Richards: “I think before the last two years and coming to Dallas, it was all internal. There are some real expectations that go with my role, and that’s external, but that can be a good thing. Besides, it’s always been an internal thing for me. I do tend to take the game home with me, to analyze it and chew on things. I just don’t know any other way. Nobody has higher expectations than I have for myself. I’ve always been that way. I just know that whatever I did yesterday, I can do it better today.’’
Fish: Chances are, that attitude comes from your upbringing. Your dad is a lobsterman on Prince …….., and as the story goes, he once showed up for a playoff game when you were in Tampa but couldn’t stay for the next game because the next day he had to get back out on the water. …
Richards: “I have a lot of respect for the people in my hometown, and my home province of P.I. It’s not an easy life. Day to day, and every day, you get up early, you spend all your time on the water, and it’s April and May in the Atlantic Ocean in the Northeast and it’s not pleasant.
“And my parents take that lifestyle to heart. With Dad and my grandfather, hockey is important but fishing comes first. Dad does make it down for a big game – but then he goes right back.’’
Fish: Can I assume that your parents’ work ethic and attitude translates pretty well to a hockey-playing son?
Richards: “Every person is a product of their environment, good or bad. So yes, I’m a product of my parents and I’m proud of that. Dad’s had to work for everything he’s ever had. Even to this day, Dad talks to me like I’m his 10-year-old son. It’s the way he is, whether he’s talking about hockey or talking about life. My parents, they are my best friends.’’
Fish: Your career has afforded you the opportunity to develop some tastes that may be different from your dad’s, though, right? You are, for instance, a bit of wine connoisseur, right? In fact, your Wikipedia page claims that you are a “well-known wine connoisseur’’?
Richards: “Well-known’? Um, no. But I enjoy wine, learning about it, tasting, collecting. When I was in Tampa, I got to know the people at Berns Steak House They have the largest private collection of wines in the world. Every night there was almost like a wine-tasting event. … You find yourself tasting a wine from the 1800’s. … an old Bordeaux. … It’s interesting to me. …’’
Fish: Brad, how does that interest play in a room full of guys who, to my knowledge, seem to enjoy their beer?
Richards: Actually, when we go on the road, guys like Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow will come with me and we’ll enjoy a good bottle of wine with dinner. Now, you’ve got to be careful; it’s not a free-for-all … so we always remember we’ve got a game to go win.
“But yes, some of the younger guys, like my roommate James Neal? He’s 22. So no, he’s not into wine. Not yet. I’m working on it.’’
Fish: This year’s Stars team seems to have an interesting combination of veterans and young guys, some guys who were around two seasons ago when you went to the Western Conference Finals, other guys who need to be tutored a bit. It seems a good fit for you, especially with new coach Marc Crawford installing a faster-paced system. It’s not quite “Safe Is Death’’ (the offensively-aggressive motto when Richards won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning) but. …
Richards: “I don’t think the system is exactly the same, but the mentality can be. Tampa was all Run-and-Gun, whereas here the focus is at least to get the D involved in the rush. Every coach is different, but this is for sure: You have to put your trust in good goaltending, which we have. And overall, it’s a lot more work, everybody has to be in top shape. And the result? It can be more fun.’’
... written by Jonathan Green , October 09, 2009
The Racist Dallas Blog has not written on the accomplishment of President Barack Obama selection of Nobel Peace Prize. Why? This is why race relations in this city and this nation will never make progress attitudes like this. Where is Bryon George?