Saturday, November 29, 2008
After going unclaimed on waivers, Luke Richardson has decided that it's time to hang up the skates for good, and is expected to move forward in some coaching capacity with the Ottawa Senators. Although nothing has been confirmed, Richardson has had conversation with Sens GM Bryan Murray about the move, and it seems like a certainty that he'll get some bench-boss job with Ottawa. (I called it.)
I'm certain there are going to be fans who think that Richardson should have called it a career before this season started--and even those who thing last year was one too many--but he's done well for the Senators. He did more than was expected last season, and the Sens had nothing to lose when they invited for a tryout and then, after a solid tryout (he outplayed Alex Picard, Brian Lee, Brendan Bell, and Christoph Schubert in training camp) re-signed him to a two-way contract. It's not even like he cost the Sens very much, as his cap hit will come down from the $500k NHL salary he signed, and it gave the Senators the opportunity to bring a knowledgeable long-time NHL veteran into the organization, possibly for years to come.
I can see Richardson stepping into one of two roles: Either as an 'eye-in-the-sky', watching the game from the press box and calling down with things he's noticed from above. Or he'll be a defensive coach with developing defensive prospects, which the Senators suddenly have quite a few of--Picard, Lee, Tomas Kudelka, Mattias Karlsson, Ben Blood, Eric Gryba, Erik Karlsson, Patrick Wiercoch, and Mark Borowiecki. Sure, some of those projects are probably finished (cough*KUDELKA*cough) and some won't work out, but having someone with the experience Richardson has sure won't hurt their development.
Jeremy Milks over at Black Aces was the first to ask what would happen to Richardson's moustache, grown in solidarity with his fellow players to ease the tension during their losing streak, now that he's retired. I, for one, think he should keep it. Not only because he looks awesome (read: hilarious), but also because he's expected to be a player's coach, so it's only fitting that he acts like on of the players.
Whatever happens to Richardson or the Richardstache, I wish him (and it) the best of luck.