By Jay Greenberg, Special to CBC Sports
NEW YORK -- The decline and fall of Brad Richards, signed as a free agent a season ago to be the Rangers' headline centre, continued Thursday when he went from fourth liner to fifth liner.
Richards was called in the morning by coach John Tortorella and told he will not be playing
when the Rangers, trailing the Bruins 3-0 in their second-round series
, make their last stand at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
At the morning skate, centres Kris Newbury and Michael Haley left the rink with the regulars while both Richards and Arron Asham stayed on with the Black Aces, an indication that both veterans would be coming out of the lineup for Game 4
Newbury, called up for six regular-season games this season, dressed for Game 1 of the Capitals series, before Brian Boyle's return from a knee injury. Haley has appeared in 52 NHL games -- including 45 with the Islanders and nine with the Rangers -- over three seasons.
Richards, 33, who has one point (a goal) in the playoffs, and seemed to age suddenly and dramatically as the NHL resumed again after the lockout, impressed everyone by meeting with the media on what had to be a humiliating day for a proud guy.
"I'm surprised I guess," said Richards, who has seven years and $36 million US left on his contract after this season and is a prime candidate for an amnesty buyout. "I'm disappointed."
Since Matt Gilroy stayed on after the regulars left the ice and Roman Hamrlik did not, it appeared that the 39-year-old veteran would take the place of the injured Anton Stralman
on defence. Stralman was hurt on a check by Milan Lucic in Game 3
and appears to be anything but day-to-day to return.
Marc Staal (blurred visions) is reporting some improvement but was not likely to be in the lineup.Bruins status quo
Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden stayed on after the Boston practice, an indication that Claude Julien is not going to try to fix what isn't broken. He will stick with his three rookies on defence for Game 4.
Jaromir Jagr did not skate, but was just giving his 41-year-old legs, which he punishes with post-game skates, a break.Selective memories
The Bruins, of course, are being repeatedly reminded of having blown a 3-0 lead in 2010 to the Flyers, but their situation also rung another bell with Milan Lucic. After having barely survived Montreal in the first round in 2011 -- just as the Bruins did this year
against Toronto -- Boston swept the Flyers in the second round on the way to the Stanley Cup.
"It does bring back some memories, I will say that," said Lucic. "But every year is different, there are different breaks in every game and every series.
"I think if anything we want to take what we have learned from that  experience and put it into [Thursday night's] game. We did play one of our best games [in Game 4] against the Flyers and got the job done. And having that rest was key when we had to go to Game 7 twice after that year [against Tampa Bay and Vancouver]."
Of course, the Bruins came all too close to blowing a 3-1 lead against the Leafs this year, so do all these lessons supposedly learned amount to more than a pile of baked beans?
"You have to approach this game with a killer instinct," said Lucic. "We have seen what giving an opponent any life can do.
"It's what happened in the Toronto series and against the Flyers [in 2010]. I think we have learned a lot this year about overlooking some things and getting complacent. "Lines and defense pairingsRangers
Follow Jay Greenberg on Twitter @ScribeJG.
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