May 14, 2012, 9:25 AM EDT
Apparently Todd Richards impressed Blue Jackets brass.
Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports the Jackets have dropped the interim tag on Richards’ position with the team and hired him on full-time to a two-year deal to coach the team. As Portzline notes, the Blue Jackets got to be a better late-game team under Richards than they were with previous head coach Scott Arniel.
Still, the Jackets went 18-21-2 under Richards. That includes an 11-8-0 record after March 1 and wins in five of their last six games, as the Jackets embraced the role of playoff spoiler down the stretch. One of the biggest struggles under Arniel was holding onto leads in the third period, but the Jackets went 14-0 under Richards when they led after 40 minutes.
That record isn’t exactly glowing but given how bad and downtrodden the team was with Arniel, Richards is a veritable miracle worker in comparison. The Jackets will now be on the hunt for a new assistant coach or two for Richards to have help out. One thing Richards won’t have yet is certainty on just who he’ll be coaching next season.
With Rick Nash rumors sure to fly again this summer as well as GM Scott Howson’s insistence that things change in goal, Richards will potentially have a lot of molding to do when training camp opens in September.
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