Brad Richards was at the arena Saturday, and was smiling a lot. He posed for pictures with some fans, and he seemed to be in a really good mood.
The Stars' leading scorer, who has missed six games with concussion-like symptoms, appears to be a lot better than he was at this time last week. He said he has skated four times on three different days, and that he is encouraged by that. But, that said, he doesn't really want to discuss a timetable for his potential return because he's really still not sure how he will feel day to day. He is better, just not better enough right now.
He also deferred questions on the trade deadline, saying that he and GM Joe Nieuwendyk are on the same page and he feels comfortable (because of his no-trade clause) that nothing will happen that he will not have some control over. He did say that, so far, he has not heard anything about a potential trade or even been asked to consider another team.
Bottom line is that Joe Nieuwendyk will test the waters and probably talk to Richards and his agent Pat Morris on Sunday to update them on what might happen before Monday's 2 p.m. (CT) trade deadline.
As for when he might be able to come back, everyone believes that Richards still has steps to take. He needs to skate with the team at some point, and that point might be on the road (Dallas starts a four-game, seven-day road trip Tuesday in Phoenix). It is a very liquid situation, and there really is no definite timetable.
Stars coach Marc Crawford said that everyone pretty much just needs to be patient and trust in Richards and the medical team.
``There's not a lot new to report. He has a smile on his face and looks very upbeat, so we're hopeful that everything keeps progressing,'' Crawford said. ``Right now, I appreciate that people want to know, but I think that's part of the pressure for a player like Brad _ everybody wanting to have an answer, everybody wanting a response, everybody not so much badgering him but wanting to have an update. We've made a conscious decision to kind of leave him be and allow our medical people to be the focal points to the communication side of it, and really take away any of the stress that comes from that kind of questioning.''