In an article from January 10, 2005, Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated writes about how Richards, Vinny Lecavalier and some other NHL players went to play for Ak Bars Kazan during the 04-05 lockout.
Farber writes "Lecavalier and Richards were on their way to a Yankees playoff game against the Red Sox in the Bronx, guests of George Steinbrenner, when reports on Ak Bars from two NHL scouts arrived via e-mail on Richards's BlackBerry. One was wildly positive. Good news from a far place. "
Richards, pictured between Lecavalier and Ilya Kovalchuk, said that he felt a little homse ick playing in Russia, "I have stuff here"--Internet access and books and enough DVDs to last two lockouts--"but I need something else. I've learned that family and friends are a lot more important."
He added that he had to deal with scrutiny from Russian writers and that "that hooking on the ice is even more flagrant than the hooking at the Omsk Tourist Hotel."
Richards was reportedly paid $1.5 million to play in Russia that season.