Stars' Brad Richards returns to action

Updated: March 10, 2011, 3:23 AM ET
By Mark Stepneski | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Stars center Brad Richards, who had missed the previous 10 games with concussion-like symptoms, returned to the lineup Wednesday night. He played 22:39 and won 10 of 18 faceoffs in the Stars' 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames.

"I felt better as the game went on," Richards said. "A little more than three weeks away, the pace and everything didn't feel as normal, as comfortable. I tried to play smart and get into it a different way. You're kind of on egg shells when you get hit. You're not really sure. Never gone through it like that, but as the game went on and I had the puck, I realized I am not made of glass and I got more comfortable."

"I thought he looked like he was off for 10 days," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "I am confident he is going to be better next game and confident he is going to be even better the game after that. I don't think you come back from that long a layoff without some rust in your game. I do think he looks fresher."

Richards looked good at Wednesday morning's skate, in which he participated with enthusiasm.

"The last 10 days I've been getting healthier and I feel good," Richards said before the game. "Being on the ice by yourself for two weeks, enough is enough. It's fun being out there with the guys. I feel like I am back being part of the group again."

Richards had not played since Feb. 13, when he was hit in the head by Columbus forward Samuel Pahlsson in the final minute of a game at American Airlines Center.

"We've been very, very, very cautious," Crawford said before Wednesday's game regarding how the team has handled Richards' injury. "That's the right thing to do, given the way that everybody has focused in on all of these injuries throughout the league. You want to make sure everybody is on the same page, and we all are.

"We are looking out for the best interest of Brad and the best interest of the Dallas Stars."

Mark Stepneski covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Mark Stepneski

ESPNDallas.com
Mark Stepneski joined ESPNDallas.com in July 2010. A former news/special projects producer for KXAS-TV, he has run the Andrew's Dallas Stars Page website since 1997.

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