Richards Faces Stars, Staal Skates and Rupp Day-to-Day

Just inside an hour until the drop of the puck at Madison Square Garden, and there’s a lot to get to.

Brad Richards faces the Dallas Stars for the first time as a member of the New York Rangers. Richards, who signed a nine-year, $60 million deal in the offseason, said although he has friends in Dallas, he wants to beat them.

“It just didn’t work out,” Richards said of his time in Dallas. “It’s was time we start over.”

The lack of success in the Lone Star State, along with questionable ownership led Richards to head east to the bright lights of Broadway.

“We were not in the playoffs for three straight years, and we were not spending the money that six, seven, eight teams are in a tough Western Conference,” Richards said. “I wanted that stability. It’s not body’s fault.

Marc Staal skated with the Rangers today for the first time since training camp, and he said although it was a big deal to skate with the club, there is still no timetable for his return.

“I felt pretty good through the workouts and skating so I decided to jump on the ice,” Staal said.

With the recent Sidney Crosby set-back, Staal is set on not returning until he is 100 percent. “Every situation is different,” he said. “The biggest thing is you have to know yourself when you’re ready to play. It’s different for everybody. You wait until the workouts get harder then you see what happens after that.”

Mike Rupp, who hasn’t played since Oct. 24 after having arthroscopic knee surgery, said he could be back as early as Saturday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. “I’ve got to find my way through this week to use these practices to really test it,” Rupp said. “Not that we don’t skate hard all the time but maybe treat it like a game.”

He said the last step is stoping and jumping into the play. “If it [the knee] doesn’t respond with that, I may have to take longer. If it does [respond well], I think I’ll be fine.”

Wojtek Wolski began skating last week and said his injured groin didn’t show signs of soreness, which is a good sign for him. It’s now a waiting game for conditioning before he could crack the lineup again.

Michael Sauer has not been with the team over the past week after suffering a concussion last Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He will not accompany the team to St. Louis and Phoenix.

The lineup tonight will be the same as Sunday, so expect Henrik Lundqvist to start, and Erik Christensen to take up space on the bench.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

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