Richards returns to the ice

Brad Richards returned to the ice Wednesday after missing the first three days of training camp. Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Brad Richards, the New York Rangers' first-line center and alternate captain, returned to action Wednesday after missing the first three days of training camp with the flu.

The Rangers did not skate as a team on Wednesday, but Richards planned to skate on his own, following a team meeting. He spoke with the media prior to hitting the ice, and said he was feeling better.

"It was just bad timing," Richards said. "You just miss being out there and doing some game-situation stuff and working with my linemates, that’s the biggest thing. But ... in the big scheme of things, three days is probably not, when you look back on it, gonna make a big difference."

Richards, 32, played in all 82 regular-season games last season, his first with the Rangers. He was third on the team in goals (25), and tops in assists (41). In the postseason, he was tied for the team lead in both goals (6) and assists (9).

He said Wednesday that he is much more comfortable entering his second season with the team.

"If this were to happen last year, obviously it would have probably been a lot harder," Richards said. "But I know most of the guys, know the coaches, know the system. ... Everything is a lot easier this year, and everything is on track."

Richards is expected to play on Saturday, when the Rangers open the regular season against the Bruins in Boston.