Bantering Points: Brad Richards Watch Starts Now

The Stanley Cup has been awarded the Brad Richards watch kicks off.

- The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last night, as the Boston Bruins collapsed in the same fashion that the Toronto Maple Leafs did to allow the Bruins to get out of the first round.

- This means we're going to be keeping an eye on Brad Richards. To this point we haven't hear anything about a potential buyout -- even Richards claims he doesn't know -- although you have to assume Glen Sather and company have a good idea of which direction they're going to go. Remember, the buyout period starts 48 hours after the Cup is awarded, so that clock is already ticking.

- The risks associated with Richards? If the Rangers give him another year and he gets injured and is hurt through next year's buyout window, the Rangers are stuck with him. They can't buy him out, and next year is the final opening for the "cap-free" buyout. The risk (even if it's relatively minor) so greatly outweighs the rewards I would be shocked if he wasn't bought out.

- That has nothing to do with him as a player. I think he's going to bounce back next year and be even better. But in this new world (where his types of contracts severely punish the teams who handed them out) the Rangers have to make the right decision. In this case it's a business decision. Buy him out. Don't take the risk.

- For that reason I do believe Richards is getting bought out no matter what. Even if the Rangers give him another year and he kills it, can they really afford to have him on the cap with that type of a contract? Especially with the penalties associated with the team if he retires early? I'm not sure it's worth the risk to not buy him out.

- Which makes the real question: Will the Rangers give him one more year? I can't answer that, but we'll find out soon enough.

- I kind of forgot as things were progressing, but Michal Rozsival just won his first Stanley Cup. Good for him, honestly. No hard feelings for the guy at all. And since it was between him and Wade Redden, well, I'm happy with the way it turned out.

- Chicago is kind of proving they're where every team wants to be. Forget the easy "well they won the Stanley Cup" answer, that team is built to win and built to survive. There's a difference between a team like that and a team just build to win. The Penguins were just built to win. That team couldn't last past this season. The Blackhawks? They're winning and surviving. Great core on that team. Biggest stars are still young. Wow.

- And the NHL couldn't be happier. That was about as good of a Stanley Cup Finals as I can remember. Two big markets, six insane games and a final game that will go down as one of the best in history. Also, tremendous numbers across the board. We're talking record-breaking numbers in many instances. The NHL couldn't have come out of this lockout any better in my opinion.

Thoughts on all this guys?