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Brad Richards keeps door open to returning to Blackhawks

If there was any doubt about whether Brad Richards was interested in returning to the Chicago Blackhawks next season, he erased it during the team’s rally at Soldier Field on Thursday.

Richards was introduced on stage, stopped at the microphone and said, “Kaner [Patrick Kane] has some pull around here. Maybe he’ll want me back.”

Richards had a laugh about it on Friday.

“I just saw a mike and started talking,” Richards said on “Carmen & Jurko” on ESPN 1000. “I don’t know why I did that.”

Richards confirmed again Friday he is interested in returning to the Blackhawks. He just isn’t sure if it’s realistic.

“I don’t’ know,” the 35-year-old Richards said. “I know [Blackhawks general manager] Stan [Bowman] and my agent are probably going to have a discussion. I think before I do anything I’m always going to call in and check in to see if there’s anything we can do here, just because it’s such a special place now and winning. I also know how much work they got to do here in the couple weeks before July 1 and all the different stuff that has to go on.

“I just got to be patient and see where all that goes. It’s a lot easier to sit back and relax and watch this when you just won a Stanley Cup. Last year I was a little nervous, and I wanted something to happen right away. Now I can be patient, and I’ll figure all that out once I get my bearings again here.”

Richards lost in the Stanley Cup finals in 2014 with the New York Rangers and then had the final six years of his nine-year contract bought out by the team. He was eager to join a team that could give another chance to win a Stanley Cup, and he agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the Blackhawks. This past season, he had 12 goals and 25 assists in 76 regular-season games and three goals and 11 assists in 23 playoff games.

If Richards is serious about coming back to the Blackhawks, he may have to take even less than $2 million. The Blackhawks are already expected to have to trade some current players so they can re-sign Brandon Saad and Marcus Kruger and get under the salary cap, which is expected to be around $71 million.

Richards said earlier in the week his career was no longer about getting paid.

“I’m fortunate where I’ve gone through my career and had my opportunities at contracts,” Richards said at the United Center on Wednesday. “There wasn’t one thought about what I was leaving on the table or anything. Not many years left, it’s all about what we did the other night. If I can have a chance to do that somewhere, whether it’s here or somewhere else, we’ll see how that goes.”

Aside from winning the Stanley Cup, Richards also enjoyed this past season because of the bond he and Kane formed on and off the ice. Richards posted a photo of him and Kane on Instagram on Thursday with the caption “My new best friend. What a year!!!”

Kane, who scored the final goal of the season off a pass from Richards, shared similar feelings about Richards on Wednesday.

“He’d be a guy that you’d love to see come back here and play in that second-line center role,” Kane said. “I think the coaches got more familiar with him, he got more ice time. But he’s a good hockey player. He’s a good guy, but he’s a good hockey player. You saw what he’s done in the past with his career, his numbers and everything speak for itself.

“But more than that, I think living in the same building with him, driving around with him, getting to know him really well, I call him a really good friend and probably someone, if he’s not back here, that I’d stay in touch with. It was a pleasure playing with him. I hope we can do it again.”

Time will tell about Kane's pull.