I got used to this with Vincent Lecavalier on... oh, just about every road trip the Tampa Bay Lightning took to Canada during the regular season from 1998 until 2004. Someone would kick shit up and the trade rumors would fly.
But having Brad Richards have to deflect off-season speculation now is a drag on the roster. It goes beyond Richards... Brad may re-iterate quotes from Jay Feaster, vowwing his re-signing, and other UFA's and RFA's-to-be have to wonder if the Lightning will have the same kind of urgency to re-sign them.
Do you want Ruslan Fedotenko thinking about contract negotiations during the playoffs? How about Freddie Modin? Cory Sarich? Pavel Kubina? Dmitry Afanasenkov? John Grahame?
Brad says it best:
"I have no idea," he said. "(That's the) furthest thing from my mind right now. I don't think it's fair to my teammates or this organization to start commenting on anything like that. That's way too far out."