Big surprise: Richer in another ugly situation

Updated: July 22, 2002, 5:13 PM ET
By Rob Parent | Special to
If there is regret in Stephane Richer's parting words for the Lightning, it is difficult to distinguish. If there is anxiety over another opportunity gone awry, it's not easily ascertained. He does not seem to be easily intimidated by the thoughts that a once limitless future is now so suddenly void. Instead, he chooses to stand behind his emotions and let destiny run its course, wherever it will land him next.

Unhappy in Tampa Bay, just as he was unhappy in Montreal and New Jersey, Richer has made a stand and demanded a trade rather than play in the minors. He is being proactive on this issue, acting on a belief that, after nearly 15 years of staggering starts and disappointing finishes, he still has speed left to burn, skill to exercise ... thrills of victory to experience.