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Blackhawks forward Richards reflects on long career

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Chicago Blackhawks center Brad Richards played in his 1,000th NHL game Sunday. He was a guest of NHL Live to discuss the milestone and the season to date.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg, Richards had two assists and five shots on goal in Chicago's 6-2 win against the Dallas Stars at United Center. He was honored in a pregame ceremony and presented a silver stick by the Blackhawks.

"I love playing the game," Richards said. "To be able to play in the NHL and still be around the game, you guys get to see it and talk to people, this game is the greatest with the great people you meet. My whole life has revolved around it and I owe everything to hockey."

It was fitting that Richards reached the milestone in Dallas, where he scored 70 goals and 227 points in 220 games with the Stars from 2007-11. He signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Blackhawks in July after helping lead the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final.

After a slow start, Richards has two goals and six points in his past six games. He's averaging a little more than 13 minutes per game, including a season-high 18:20 on Sunday in what Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told the Associated Press was "his best game of the year."

Winners of three of their past four games, the Blackhawks begin a six-game road trip Thursday at the Calgary Flames.

"We've had a few losses that we've kind of given away and that might have woken us up a little bit," Richards said. "We had one stinker in Detroit up there (a 4-1 loss Nov. 14) but over the last week and a half it seems like we're getting a lot more consistent effort. When we do that, there's so much talent here we'll score goals and have more chances to win."

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