Lightning center deserves respect

It's doubtful Tampa Bay would still be playing without Brad Richards' important contributions.

Updated: May 28, 2004, 2:01 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
After the Lightning defeated the Flames 4-1 Thursday night to even the Stanley Cup finals at a game apiece, Tampa Bay center Vincent Lecavalier was asked if he felt overlooked by all the attention Calgary center Jarome Iginla is getting. Meanwhile, two seats to his left on the podium, teammate Brad Richards, who has been just as important to the Lightning's most successful season, listened while the spotlight focused mostly on Lecavalier.

The Lightning captain, who had two assists and played a physical game, said all the right things; that he just tries to do his best for his team, that it's a team game and that Iginla deserved his attention for playing exceptionally in the playoffs.

As Lecavalier said, it takes a team effort to get this far. And it's doubtful Tampa Bay would still be playing without Richards' important contributions.