Luke eyes new challenge

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

As an NHL veteran of more than two decades, Luke Richardson was in many ways a coach in uniform.

Very soon, he'll be a coach in civilian clothes.

The Senators placed Richardson on waivers yesterday, clearing the way for his retirement. GM Bryan Murray said once Richardson officially clears waivers today at noon, the 39-year-old Ottawa native will be offered a position within the organization -- likely as a development coach.

"There's a little bit of sadness, but there's also excitement," Richardson said before taking his perch in the press box to work as a spotter for the Senators' coaching staff during last night's game against the Leafs. "This is a good opportunity for me. I'm going to let the weekend pass and then I'll sit down with Bryan next week to talk about my role."

Richardson, who suited up for 1,417 NHL games but was a healthy scratch for all but two this season, was signed after coming to camp as a free agent. He was on a two-way deal, and getting his $500,000 (all terms US) salary off the books gives Murray flexibility within the $56.7-million cap.

"It's a decision Luke and I talked about before he signed his contract," said Murray. "He was signed as a veteran, depth player. He's a great guy to have around the players. But also with the understanding that if he wasn't going to be used, we would use him in a different capacity if we could. To start the process, he cannot be an active player.

"Hopefully, he can help us within other areas. One of those areas is to do a little coaching and work with the coaching staff in some capacity. In one respect, it takes him out of the fun part of the game and into the serious part of the game, but that's what Luke would like to do."

NO TRIP TO BINGO

Murray said he didn't ask Richardson, who went from the OHL's Peterborough Petes to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1987 after being drafted No. 7 overall, to report to the club's AHL farm team in Binghamton. In his 21-year career, Richardson never played a game in the minors.

"He's a great guy and he's worked really hard to be a player in the league, and he's played a long time," said Murray. "He has great interpersonal skills and the players respect him for what he's done here."

Richardson's experience will be valuable in helping the team's blueline prospects prepare for the NHL, Murray said. "We've got some young defencemen like Brian Lee, (Swede) Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch (currently at the University of Denver) in the organization that somebody like Luke can work with," he said.


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