Frozen Royalty: Brad Richardson Hopes To Lose Utility Man Label Someday
Gann Matsuda of Frozen Royalty had the opportunity to speak with Brad Richardson during the Kings road trip. Here are Brad’s thoughts on his recent hat trick and opportunity to contribute above the fourth line.
LOS ANGELES — With the Los Angeles Kings back home from a five-game road trip in which they earned a solid 3-2-0 record, they now find themselves in a rather lofty position, atop the Western Conference standings and second in the overall National Hockey League standings (through games played on October 29).
As one might expect, players such as Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll and Jonathan Quick have played key roles in the team’s strong 7-3-0 start through ten games. But role players are making solid contributions as well, including versatile forward Brad Richardson, whose strong play has earned him a promotion to the Kings’ top line, skating alongside Brown and Kopitar.
But at the start of that five-game road swing, beginning with a 4-2 loss at Phoenix on October 21, Richardson found himself in his usual spot on the fourth line.
Little did he know that big changes were in store for him, and they came rather unexpectedly early in the second period at Colorado on October 23.
In that game, Richardson, 24, started the game on the fourth line, but Kings head coach Terry Murray, as he is wont to do, decided to tinker with his line combinations, moving Richardson up to play left wing on the first line, while moving rookie forward Andrei Loktionov down to center the fourth line.
The results were explosive for Richardson, who poured in three goals, including the game-winner, leading the Kings to a 6-4 win. Richardson scored at even strength early in the second period, added a shorthanded goal in the third period that was scored while the Kings were killing off a five-minute major power play, and, for good measure, he tallied another even strength goal late in the period to close out the scoring.
The hat trick was Richardson’s first in the NHL.
“Yeah, that was pretty fun,” said Richardson, who was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round (163rd overall) of the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft, playing parts of three seasons with the Avalanche. “You don’t plan on going into a game and scoring three goals, but it was one of those nights where everything clicks, and doing it against my former team was pretty special for me, too.”
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