Word Association and Kings v Rangers preview with Brad Richards

With the Rangers practicing at Toyota Sports Center in advance of their game vs the Kings on Monday night, we had a chance to catch up with forward Brad Richards. Here’s what he had to say…

- On how playing in Los Angeles at the Staples Center compares with playing in the famed Madison Square Garden: “It’s fun. They have a great team right now, last couple of years. It’s a great building to play in. All the fans have really gotten behind them with all the success they’ve had. It’s always great to come here. When I played in Dallas, we were here a lot, obviously in division. I love playing here.”

- On those sometimes heated games between the Stars and the Kings: “There were a lot of good games. That division—San Jose, Anaheim—you know all four teams were scratching for play-off spots all the time. The games always meant something. They were good, a lot of fun.”

- On if new coach Alain Vigneault has reinvigorated him: “I think we’ve all taken that approach. It’s a whole new look and new feel, so everybody’s excited. You have a little [of the unknown] just trying to figure out how these guys want to play and what they want to do on and off the ice, so you always have that feeling of anxiousness and excitement to get going.”

- On NHL realignment and the opportunity to play teams in other conferences: “It doesn’t change a whole lot for New York. We didn’t travel much anyway. I think it’s great for the other teams. When I played in Dallas, to play in a West Coast Division was pretty tough on that team. For everybody now to be slotted in their time zones and a little more balanced schedule where you go to every city and they come to you, I think it’s only good. I know they want to create rivalries, but sometimes when you’re playing the same teams all the time, it’s not as fresh and it gets redundant. It’s good to see all the teams and get a taste for how everybody’s playing out there.”

- Word Association…

Jeff Carter: “Big right winger”

Mike Richards: “Good last name”

Dustin Brown: “In your face”

Jonathan Quick: “Quick”

Drew Doughty: “Smooth”

Anze Kopitar: “He’s smooth too. I don’t know…big? He’s big.”

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