The Detroit Red Wings’ search for an experienced coach to fill the vacant assistant position will reportedly see the team interview former Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards. Richards, 49, was fired this past season after Columbus lost its first seven games.
The Detroit Red Wings are looking for some added experience behind the bench, and the help the Red Wings are seeking could come courtesy of former divisional opponent the Columbus Blue Jackets.
According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, the Blue Jackets have granted the Red Wings permission to speak with former coach Todd Richards, who was fired by Columbus two weeks into the 2015-16 campaign after the team limped out of the gate to an 0-7 record. Richards was fired following the seventh loss to open the campaign, and was almost immediately replaced by veteran coach John Tortorella.
Portzline reported that Richards, 49, will not interview for the position until after he returns from the World Championships, where he’s currently an assistant for Team USA.
Over his five seasons in Columbus, Richards amassed a record of 127-112-21 and during the 2012-13 season helped the Blue Jackets earn only their second playoff berth in franchise history. That Columbus squad was also the first in franchise history to win a post-season game, taking the Pittsburgh Penguins to six games before being ousted from the first round.
Richards was a bench boss with the Minnesota Wild prior to his time in Columbus, but the Wild were only barely above .500 during Richards’ two seasons behind the bench. He led Minnesota to a combined 77-71-16 record over his two full seasons as coach, and the Wild missed the post-season in both campaigns.
The Red Wings’ search for an experienced assistant has reportedly had them searching high and low, and there were reports that Detroit could look into bringing Marc Crawford aboard. Crawford, the former coach of the then-hated rival Colorado Avalanche, was looking to get back into coaching in the NHL, and it was believed he may be a top candidate to fill the spot vacated by the departure of assistant Tony Granato, who left to coach the NCAA’s Wisconsin Badgers. However, Crawford has since signed on to be an associate coach with the Ottawa Senators.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive.com’s Ansar Khan that there are no internal candidates to fill the position, which excludes longtime Red Wings defenseman and former Norris Trophy-winner Chris Chelios from taking a spot behind the bench. Chelios is already part of the coaching staff as a part-time assistant. However, per Khan, Chelios has previously said he wasn’t interested in the full-time assistant position.