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Brad Richards Q&A

by Olivia Kiespert / Dallas Stars recently caught up with Stars center Brad Richards, who talked about his summer in Tampa, recovering from the injuries he suffered last season and the expectations for the club in 2009-10.

Richards Video Highlights How did you spend your summer?

I was back in Tampa, Florida for most of it, unfortunately doing a lot of rehab for the first month and a half. I stayed there and trained at Saddlebrook (training facility in Tampa). I pretty much married myself to those guys to try to get back as healthy as I could for training camp.

You had a rough season last year, breaking your wrist and sustaining a broken hand in your return to the lineup. How did that affect your preparation for this season?

The game plan was to take care of my hand because I broke that in the game. I also did some stuff to my shoulders; that’s been a nagging injury over the last few years. It was an opportunity to get my whole body healthy, not that it was too awful. I just took the opportunity to try and get everything cleared up and be 100% going into training camp. It was a long summer; you don’t want to have long summers, but when you have them, you can take advantage of it to get yourself in the best condition possible.

Are you taking any precautions to prevent these injuries from happening again?

No. I think everything is going to be ready to go. I have had enough time off and hope to just go status quo.

Now that you have a full season under your belt, do you feel more at home with the organization and have better chemistry with your teammates?

Yeah, I think every day that goes by you gain some feel for the organization. Obviously, there have been some changes, but it’s still the same locker room, still the same trainers and staff. You get used to this city and living in the city. Each day I feel more a part of the organization. Some of these guys have been here a lot longer than I have; they have certain ways that you’ve got to get used to. It’s not as easy jumping into a team sometimes as you think. It’s definitely a lot better than it used to be.

What sort of impact do you think all of the off-season changes, with the organization bringing in Joe Nieuwendyk as GM and Marc Crawford as coach, will have on the team this season?

I really believe the old staff and everybody who was here did a great job. This organization has had a lot of success over the years, but coming in from the outside, after only a year and half, I think this is going to be a positive change. It can only help get everybody rejuvenated and get everybody excited and realize that we’ve got something to prove. Last year was not acceptable, no matter injuries or whatever you want to call it. We never started well. We never really played well throughout the year. All of this brings a lot of emphasis to accountability. I think this is going to be great. They [management] are excited to try to bring everything to us, and we are excited to try to show them that we’re the team that went to the Western Conference Finals.

Having played eight seasons, you are one of the veterans on a fairly young team. How has your role as team leader changed with up-and-comers like James Neal and Fabian Brunnstrom?

We have a lot of young players here that have a lot of potential in them. It’s great to see the year that Loui Eriksson, James Neal and Fabian Brunnstrom had last season. That’s such a really good time in their careers because it shows you how far they can bring their game. I still try to go out there and lead by example, I’m not a big yeller and screamer. I try to do as much as I can and help these guys try to be professional. Guys like James Neal have done a great job trying to do that over the last couple of years.

Do you have any superstitions?

I have a lot, but they wouldn’t be superstitions if I told them.

Do you think the rest of the league is sleeping on the Stars after a sub-par performance last year?

It’s probably more the media. As a player, you always look at every team like it’s big battle. I don’t know any NHL players who go into games looking at any team like that [as sub-par]. Every game is a dogfight now; it’s a tough league. We can go about our business here at training camp and hopefully get off to a great start. We need to get our confidence back where it was two years ago when we went to the Western Conference Finals.

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