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After benching, Brad can't wait to get back

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The last thing Brad Richards wanted after being benched Thursday night was to have to wait two full days before lacing up the skates for another game.

"You hate waiting and just want to get back, and you wish there was a game right now, you can go play and get yourself back in the right direction," Richards said Saturday. "[I'm] just happy to be back at work."

Richards is looking forward to Sunday's game against Washington after serving primarily as a spectator down the stretch against the Islanders. He played just 47 seconds in the third period and had a pair of shifts in overtime en route to a season-low 15:50 of ice time in the Rangers' 4-3 shootout loss.

Saturday marked the Rangers' first practice since the loss, and Richards served on a line with Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik. Richards said this isn't the first time he has been benched in his career but acknowledged that it was tough to sit during a tie game in the third period.

"You want to get out there, and no matter how I feel or where I am, I feel like I can make a difference," Richards said. "It's not a good feeling, but it's a good thing to kind of take a deep breath and kind of regroup."

The center explained his struggles Thursday as the result of him pushing too hard and making uncharacteristic plays. Coach John Tortorella, who said he felt he had to make the move, agreed that Richards pushed too hard.

“That’s always the problem with Brad, if he’s struggling. It’s not a guy I’ve never been on as far as effort, but sometimes he binds himself up by trying to do too much and caring too much," Tortorella said. "That’s a pretty good assessment, and he’ll get through it and be a good player for us."

After starting the season with two goals in the first five games, Richards has been held without a tally in the past eight contests. He has a respectable 10 points, eight coming from assists, but the Rangers need him to contribute more goals.

"I'd love to be able to tell you I had it every night, but I can't. [I] gotta just try to get through those nights you can't make the right play or [you're] not seeing it the right way," Richards said. "That's happened to me a lot before. This is not something that is out of this world. It's frustrating when it happens."