After a summer of hard work and preparation, Brad Richardson found himself watching his Colorado Avalanche teammates from afar to start the season after suffering a wrist injury just prior to training camp.
Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly the way Richardson had hoped to kick off the season.
“After the way the season ended last year we had a lot of time to think about this season, workout and get ready,” said Richardson. “Coming here and getting hurt two days before camp was a pretty big downer.
“I just tried to stay positive and make the best of a bad situation. I got the chance to skate a lot and get in really good shape. It’s pretty easy when the guys around here keep you motivated and the coaches are there helping you push yourself.”
When Richardson was cleared to play on Nov. 7, he was assigned to Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters. The forward played three games in Lake Erie and notched one assist before being recalled to the Avalanche on Nov. 16.
After being forced to sit out the beginning of the season, Richardson has provided a spark for the team and has shown his versatility since returning to the lineup. During his first game back, he played alongside Joe Sakic on Colorado’s top line while also reprising his role as a key player on the team’s penalty killing unit. A season ago, Richardson led the Avalanche with three shorthanded goals, becoming the first player since Sakic (also 3) in 2000-01 to record as many.
“Richy gives us speed and quickness. When he’s on the ice our overall speed game improves,” said Avalanche Head Coach Joel Quenneville. “He’s got a nice shot and it gives us one more penalty killer to add to our group.”
Making up for lost time, Richardson got on the scoreboard in his fourth game with Colorado, notching a third-period goal against Calgary on Nov. 24.
But Richardson says whether he’s putting up points or not, he’s just happy to be back on the ice.
“It’s a big relief. It feels great,” said Richardson. “It was a long offseason, and I was so excited to get back out there and play.”