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Heartbreaking story of how Tanner Richard missed NHL debut



Shortly into coach Jon Cooper’s pre-game media session Saturday, he said, “You want to hear an awful story?”

A heartbreaking one, actually.

With center Cedric Paquette the latest Tampa Bay forward to get hurt, prospect Tanner Richard, 23, was called up from AHL Syracuse and scheduled to make his anticipated NHL debut Saturday against the Oilers.

But Richard’s 8 a.m. flight out of New York sat on a tarmac for two hours, forcing him to miss his connection in Minneapolis. His scheduled flight to Edmonton from Minneapolis was taking off as he arrived. With the next flight to Edmonton not arriving until after the game, Richard was returned to Syracuse. But it was not in time for the Crunch’s game in Bridgeport. So Richard missed two games in one night.

Richard, a third-round pick from 2012, got called up last season too, taking part in warmups before being a healthy scratch. He was deserving of an NHL debut, racking up seven goals and 10 assists in 21 games. Richard was finally the fourth Crunch forward to get called up this season.

He just never got here.

[Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2016 9:56pm]


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