Richards envisions bountiful partnership with Tatar

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Traverse City — Brad Richards is a veteran center who has learned and adjusted to the styles of his wings for many years.

But Richards is excited about the possibility of playing with Tomas Tatar.

"You see how well he played last year, how far he's come along, and he's a goal scorer and I like playing with those type of guys," Richard said. "I don't know him well yet. We'll keep talking and getting to know each other off the ice and that'll help, and on the ice, keep communicating."

What Tatar sees in Richards is a veteran, a savvy playmaker who can produce.

"He's an experienced guy who won the Cup last year (in Chicago) and he's been great in the NHL for many seasons," Tatar said. "I'm really happy to get the chance to play with him. Hopefully the chemistry will get going."

Helm was supposed to be the other wing on the line, but that'll change at least for the opening days of camp.

Youthful exuberance

Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi both had goals during Friday's intrasquad scrimmage and were impressive overall.

"It's good to see," coach Jeff Blashill said. "Those are two real good players. We'd like to have as much competition within our system, to be NHL players, as possible. Those are two guys who have potential to be NHL players and that's a positive for sure."

But a wily veteran impressed Blashill most during the scrimmage.

"Z (Henrik Zetterberg) was real good," Blashill said. "He was skating great, which was good to see."

Ice chips

Daniel Cleary didn't skate Friday because of a leg issue that flared up the day before, Blashill said.

… One of the objectives in the exhibition season will be to establish a fourth line.

"We'd love to have four lines that we feel comfortable and confident on the ice against anybody," Blashill said. "A fourth line that can skate and defend and score some, we'd love to have that and that's what we're looking for."

… For a veteran such as Richards, training camp is about getting to know teammates rather than conditioning.

"I like to be able to meet the guys," Richard said. "I've been through enough training camps that I know when it's time to get ready for game one. But it's good to meet the guys and be up here and away from home and hang out and get to know the guys.

"The hardest thing when you get to a new team is feeling comfortable."

Newest Wings Brad Richards, left, and Mike Green hang out together during practice.