Todd Richards has earned himself a head-coaching gig with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets announced Monday that they were removing the “interim” tag from Richards’ job title.
“Todd had a three-month interview,” Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said. “He passed it with flying colors.”
Richards took over the head-coaching responsibilities in January when the Jackets fired Scott Arniel after the team’s atrocious 11-25-5 start. Under Richards, the team began to show signs of improvement and were able to finish the season with a 18-21-2 record. However, the Blue Jackets still finished the season in last place.
“I don’t think there was a lot of trust built up in our players from one to another,” Richards said of the Jackets’ woeful start to the 2012 season. “We started to build up that trust. We started to play more as a group, started to play more as a team. That’s why I’m excited. Despite losing guys to trade or injuries—we had kind of a makeshift group—we had some young guys and a lot of guys up from the American (Hockey) League and we were finding ways to compete and win games.”
Richards, who was the head coach for the Minnesota Wild from 2009-11, may be excited at the opportunity to be a bench boss in the NHL again, but he’ll have his hands full in Columbus. The Jackets are a young team without an identity, a dependable starting goaltender and clue as to what will happen with captain Rick Nash.