Richards back with Bolts? Lots of things must happen

It was Super Bowl week in Dallas, early February, but there was hockey, too, and there was Dallas Stars star center Brad Richards (you might remember him) in his team’s dressing room after a loss to Vancouver, talking about all his times in Tampa.

“Tampa is still where I won a championship,” Richards said. “I’ll be there, live there after I retire. And you never know, you never say never about going back and playing there. You never know.”

We still don’t, do we?

Hockey handed out its awards Wednesday night. Friday comes the NHL draft. The free-agency signing period begins in a little more than a week.

Richards and the Lightning will be on the clock.

Do they need each other? Do they want each other?

It’s not a crazy idea. It could happen. It might not, but it could.

The very idea of reunion makes a lot of heads and hearts all kinds of warm inside.

Brad Richards back with the Bolts, back where he raised the Stanley Cup in 2004, along with the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP. Did Richards score a playoff goal that didn’t win a game in 2004?

Flash forward to next season, Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis on one line and Steven Stamkos and Richards on another.

Excited yet?

We all know what Richards meant to this team and this town. I know he was one of my favorites.

But a lot of things would have to fall in place.

Richards, 31, has all the power, all the control. He can make the deal happen, but only if the Lightning have to show they want him.

Richards would probably need to take the old home-team discount, less than the $7.8 million he made last season for Dallas.

Will he really do that? I’m not so sure. He’s clearly the top center out there, by a mile, and this might be his last big deal, and why take as much as a $3 million pay cut to come back here when other teams might pay more? The Rangers come to mind, with former Bolts and Richards coach John Tortorella.