Tag:Todd Richards
Posted on: March 9, 2012 9:37 am
Edited on: March 9, 2012 9:48 am
 

Pregame Skate: Southeast slug race crawls on

Florida just looked behind and saw the rest of the division on its heels. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Pregame Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

7 ET, Florida at Pittsburgh

The Panthers continue to go back and forth. One day you are thinking they are pretty secure in their playoff chances, the next they are getting blown out 5-0 on the road in Philadelphia as they were on Thursday.

As a matter of fact, this first-place team in the Southeast Division (really) has lost its last two road games by a combined score 0f 12-0. So really, the last thing they want to see on the schedule is the second half of a back-to-back being on the road at the Penguins. They're only 22-8-2 at home and have won seven straight, nothing too impressive.

Florida still does have the benefit of games in hand -- although they lose that tonight in their battle with the Capitals -- but their grip on the Southeast is no stranglehold. The Caps and Jets are just two behind them and the Lightning are five back with a home-heavy stretch to come.

You'd think they would have to start playing better beginning in Pittsburgh, but in all honesty they might not have to in the Southeast. A .500 finish could get them in and they have an even home/road split to the finish. But it certainly would behoove them to play better, that's for sure.

They have handled injuries all season in Florida, but the most recent one seems to hurt more than most have as leading scorer Kris Versteeg remains out with a hip injury.

9 ET, Winnipeg at Calgary

Two Canadian bubble teams, doesn't get a whole lot better in March than that.

The Jets are going to have to prove they can pick up points on the road if they are going to make the playoffs this season. After failing to do so on Thursday night in Vancouver, they have a bit better of a shot on Friday at the Flames. As mentioned above, they have a struggling division leader only two points ahead of them and others champing at the bit behind.

But the Flames are in a similar situation. They have the same point total at this point as the Jets but the race for eighth in the West is slightly better. Hey, I said slightly. Whereas the Jets are tied in points for that last spot, the Flames are three back. They also have two teams in between them and the Sharks.

This certainly isn't a loser-leave-town match (or in this case leave the playoff race) but it's a big opportunity for each to get points against beatable opponents. How else would you describe bubble teams this season?

7:30 ET, Los Angeles at Detroit

The L.A. Kings; the latest victims of the streaking Blue Jackets. Poor Jeff Carter just can't win when he's in Columbus.

If that challenge was tough, wait to see what the schedule has in store for them on Friday night: a trip to Hockeytown, USA and a date with the Red Wings. You wouldn't think that an optimal destination to pick up points in the race for eighth out West.

L.A. has seen a bit of an uptick in scoring recently but it is still mostly feast or famine for them. In the last seven games they have four wins and three losses. In each of the three losses they scored one goal, in each of the four wins they scored at least four. There's not a whole lot of middle ground there.

However, a win not only puts Los Angeles ahead of San Jose and into a playoff spot for the moment, it would actually pull the Kings even with the Coyotes at the same time in points and games. So not even a loss to Columbus could dash their hopes.

Others worth watching

8:30 ET, Rangers at Chicago: Here's the question I have: Can the Penguins actually catch the Rangers? By night's end Pittsburgh could be only four points back of New York. The Blackhawks will try to help revive the Atlantic race.

Your promised miscellany

  • Thursday's Winners & Losers
  • Speaking of those streaking Blue Jackets, coach Todd Richards sounds like he's enjoying the Jack Johnson-Jeff Carter swap. (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Jeremy Roenick remains not a big fan of Patrick Marleau's abilities with his old team in San Jose. (CSN Bay Area
  • Wait, now Don Cherry might be silenced by the NHL? Boy, the next Coach's Corner is going to be good. (Toronto Sun)
  • With this empty-netter last night, Max Pacioretty became the first American to score 30 in a season for the Canadiens. He's turned into quite a player.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 26, 2012 5:33 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 7:47 pm
 

Nash: 'I'm a Blue Jacket today'

Jackets fans in Pittsburgh make their plea on Sunday. (Getty Images)

By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- During the pre-game warmups at the Consol Energy Center on Sunday afternoon, in advance of their 4-2 loss to the Penguins, a collection of Blue Jackets fans assembled along the glass and made what can only be described as a desperate, hail mary attempt to persuade the Columbus front office to not trade their captain -- and best player -- Rick Nash.

It's not going to have any impact on what happens over the next 24 hours, of course, but you certainly can't blame them for making the effort.

You also can't blame Nash if he's simply ready for Monday's 3 PM trade deadline, no matter what happens (if anything happens), to come and go, ending what has been three weeks of speculation, rumors and, well, at times complete insanity.
NHL Trade Deadline
More NHL coverage

He had no interest in addressing questions as to whether or not Sunday's loss, a game that saw him score a shorthanded goal in the second period, would be his final one in a Columbus sweater, the only one s ever worn during his first eight-plus years in the NHL.

He offered "no comment" when asked if he agreed with his agents recent statement about it possibly being for the best if a trade is completed sooner rather than later.

And who knows, at this point, even if he won't admit it, it might be for the best if something does happen sooner rather than later.

His agent already made it clear that the list of teams that he will accept a trade to will not grow in the offseason, so the list of potential trade partners for Columbus isn't going to change.

The Blue Jackets, owners of the worst record in the NHL through the first five months of a season that, at its best, can only be described as a complete  disappointment, are already in what appears to be an everything-must-go fire sale mode. Over the past week alone the team has traded forwards Antoine Vermette (to Phoenix) and Jeff Carter (to Los Angeles), seemingly selling them off at their lowest possible value, perhaps before they had to, blowing up the ship in a season that has been crushed by inconsistent (or just plain bad) goaltending, injuries, and performances that have fallen below expectations.

At this point it's hard to imagine the Blue Jackets, Nash or no Nash, making much of a push next season especially in a division that already houses some of the best teams in the NHL (Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis), which would just be another year in what has been a never-ending cycle for Nash and the Jackets.

Through it all, he has certainly been a patient man over the past nine years in Columbus, easily the best player in franchise history and one of the few consistent bright spots for a team that has made the postseason just one time in its existence.

It's still not known what's going to happen before Monday, but everybody involved has taken pretty much the same approach as the waiting game continues -- for now, he's still a Blue Jacket.

"It's been a great time living in Columbus," said Nash on Sunday. "I'm a Blue Jacket today and we're going to do everything we can to move forward as a team. Like I said the other day, these fans deserve a winning team. They're the ones that have been the most patient."

His head coach, Todd Richards, said pretty much the exact same thing.

"Rick Nash is part of our team," said Richards. "Right now he's a Columbus Blue Jacket. Twenty-four Hours from now that might be a different story but right now he's a Columbus Blue Jacket and you treat him as one of our players."

For as long as he is one of their players, of course.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:33 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Clock error helps Kings; Jackets GM's reaction

By Brian Stubits

When it's not your year, it's just not your year. What other non-sensical explanation can the Columbus Blue Jackets have after Wednesday night's loss to the Los Angeles Kings?

In a 2-2 game and the Kings on a power play in the final minute, the Kings pulled their best Staples Center co-tenant Kobe Bryant and pulled a rabbit out of their hat by way of a Drew Doughty goal with 0.4 seconds left in the game. That's bad enough for the Blue Jackets.

Making it worse? It probably shouldn't have counted. There was nothing wrong with the goal itself and the puck did go in before the clock showed 0:00.00. However the clock should have already been at 0 when Doughty scored.

Here is a look at the goal from the broadcast perspective.

If you were watching the action on the ice leading up to Doughty's goal, you probably didn't notice what was going on with the clock. So here's another angle, one you can't miss.

The clock comes to a stop for roughly a full second at the 1.8 mark. If Doughty scored with 0.4 left on the clock ... you can see why the Blue Jackets are upset.

"I don’t have any official report," Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards said to the Columbus Dispatch. "But watching the replay and talking to the producer who does our show [On Fox Sports Ohio], the clock stopped at 1.8 and stopped for 1.5 seconds. They scored with 0.5.

"I’m really disappointed for the players."

I suppose it's possible that the clock on the broadcasts didn't match the actual game clocks, but that's something I'm not going to put my money on.

One of the things I love about the Blue Jackets is the accessability and outreach of their general manager Scott Howson. He's active on Twitter. He even has his a blog he posts rather candid updates on. Here is some of his latest entry (the blog has since been removed because Howson reportedly felt some opinions were "made too strongly")

I spoke with (NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations) Colin Campbell on two occasions after the game. Sometimes in watching the game on television there can be confusion with respect to the game clock. Some television broadcasts use their own game clock that is not official with the rink. However, and after double checking, Colin confirmed that we were actually seeing the official game clock stop for one full second. Therefore, when you do the math, Drew Doughty actually scored 0.4 seconds after time had expired, which means the goal should have been disallowed and should have gone to overtime. Colin has promised me that the NHL will investigate this to try and figure out how this happened.

It is an amazing coincidence that with the Kings on a power play at STAPLES Center and with a mad scramble around our net in the dying seconds of the third period of a 2-2 hockey game that the clock stopped for at least one full second. I can only think of two ways in which this would have happened. Either there was a deliberate stopping of the clock or the clock malfunctioned.

It’s easy to say that this doesn’t matter. We, the Blue Jackets, are in last place and it is likely not going to affect our place in the standings. However, in my opinion, this matters in many respects. It matters to our players, to our coaches, every person in our organization and our fans. In talking with our coaches and Craig Patrick, our players played with passion, tenacity, grit, determination and competitiveness after a rather embarrassing loss in San Jose the night before. This tremendous effort was put in without four of our top six defensemen (James Wisniewski, Nikita Nikitin, Marc Methot and Radek Martinek) and with Jeff Carter, Ryan Johansen, Mark Letestu and Kristian Huselius also out of the lineup. We will never know if we should have had one point or two points in the standings. What we do know is that we should not have had zero. Anyone who has competed at a high level of sports knows that when you put everything into a game, the result matters. And to have the result altered unfairly stings.

Colin Campbell spoke up for the league on Thursday.

"We didn't even look to go back and say 'OK, did something happen [with the clock]?'" Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said.

"When it crosses the line [and] you review it, you back the puck out and you see what the clock was. And the clock was 0.4 [seconds].

"And then after the game, minutes after the game, we see [it and say] 'Holy cow.'"

Campbell spoke further with the Columbus Dispatch.

"This is a tough pill for the Columbus fans to swallow, and we know that," NHL VP of game operations Colin Campbell told The Dispatch.

The NHL began investigating the incident late last night and has had multiple conversations with Howson. The league has acknowledged to Howson that the goal should not have counted, and they're looking into it further, to the extent that NHL staffers are on the way to Los Angeles to investigate.

"We're not questioning (the clock operator's) integrity," Campbell said. "But we're going to open all doors and examine everything, to see what happened and how we can keep it from happening again."

In the grand scheme of things, you figure this isn't a whole lot to get worked up about. The Blue Jackets are dead last and would probably be better off not getting a point or two in the long run to make sure they have the best odds come lottery draft time. Good luck telling that to the players and fans who feel robbed, though.

Where this could possibly be a bigger deal is if the Kings sneak into the playoffs by a point. They are currently holding onto the seventh spot out West, so if it comes down to the slimmest of margins, this will be remembered. Of course it's entirely possible the Kings would have earned the second point in overtime, but just playing the odds the Kings have the second most post-regulation losses this season with 10.

And I'll just say this: Before the conspiracy theorists start, save your breath. No way stopping the clock for that short of time could be predicted to be enough to allow Doughty to score in that spot. Any possible theory I can think of is pure lunacy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:52 am
Edited on: January 9, 2012 7:00 pm
 

Scott Arniel fired by Blue Jackets

Arniel1By: Adam Gretz

On Monday morning the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled the trigger on a move that had been anticipated for some time now.

The team fired head coach Scott Arniel following a 7-4 loss in Anaheim on Sunday that dropped the Blue Jackets to a league-worst 11-25-5. Arniel will be replaced on an interim basis by former Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards.

It seems like this is a move that probably should have taken place some time ago given how bad the Blue Jackets were from the start of the season, roaring out of the gate by losing their first eight games and 10 of their first 11. It was a massive hole that was (and still is) too deep to overcome, and it's getting deeper by the day. Right now there are only seven teams in the NHL that are more than five points out of a potential playoff spot. The Blue Jackets are 20 points back.

A couple weeks ago general manager Scott Howson refused to place the blame on the coaching staff, and talked about how the team was going to look to be active in the trade market.

Obviously, there were some problems in Columbus. Young, skilled players like Derrik Brassard and Ryan Johansen were relegated to fourth-line duty, or even the press box on some nights, with Brassard's agent, Allan Walsh, putting the crosshairs on Arniel for, in Walsh's words, "a history of burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice."

Whether or not Arniel was a good or bad coach, or if a change needed to be made (it's pretty obvious something needed to happen), the situation in Columbus has been ugly in every possible way. Injuries have piled up, including the most recent one for summer acquisition Jeff Carter on Sunday, while the goaltending, particularly from former Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason, has been among the worst in the league. The Blue Jackets currently have the second-worst team save percentage in the NHL at .893, narrowly ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning. On an individual level the only goalie with a worse mark than Mason's .883 is Dwayne Roloson.

Arniel ended up lasting just a season-and-a-half in Columbus as the team put together a 45-60-18 record during his time with the team. The Blue Jackets have won just eight games in regulation since November 24 ... of 2010.

His replacement for the time being, Richards, was the head coach in Minnesota during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons and put together a 77-71-16 record. He was replaced this offseason by Mike Yeo.

Here is Howson talking to the media about the decision.



More on the NHL's coaching carousel

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:33 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 11:34 am
 

Minnesota Wild fires Todd Richards

Todd Richards had the Minnesota Wild in playoff contention for most the season, but the team stumbled down the stretch likely to cost him his job. Richards, in his second season behind the Wild bench, was fired, the team announced on Monday 

“I would like to thank Todd for the hard work he provided to the Minnesota Wild organization the last two seasons and wish him the best in the future,” GM Chuck Fletcher said in a statement.

Richards is the third coach let go since teams began to conclude their  regular season schedules over the weekend, joining Cory Clouston (Ottawa) and Peter DeBoer (Florida). 

The Wild played spoiler in their final game as they beat the Dallas Stars, 5-3, on Sunday. The loss knocked the Stars, who needed a regulation or overtime win, out of playoff contention and cleared the way for the Chicago Blackhawks to gain entry. 

Richards, 44, was 77-71-16 while with the Wild.

-- A.J. Perez
Category: NHL
Posted on: March 31, 2011 1:37 am
Edited on: March 31, 2011 1:48 am
 

Morning Skate: Does that seat feel a bit warm?

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke declared Wednesday that Ron Wilson would back next season, even if the club falls short of the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.

“I said back in the fall, we would not consider a change, even when all the hounds were baying,” Burke told The Globe and Mail. “I feel the same way now. Ron is coaching this team next year.”

It's hardly a surprise. Burke and Wilson were teammates back at Providence College and their friendship extends decades. Even if Wilson was already coaching in Toronto when Burke was hired as GM in November 2008, Burke wouldn't have wanted anybody else for the job.

Other coaches around the NHL may not be so lucky come season's end. Here's a roundup of coaches that may find themselves out of work not long after April 10, the final day of the regular season.

Cory Clouston, Ottawa Senators: It's not only his position that is shaky. There are no guarantees GM Bryan Murray will back next season. The Sens, who surged into the playoffs and entered as the fifth seed a season ago, never found a rhythm this season -- and that's being charitable. Ottawa is in the basement in the East, so it's fair to say some changes are coming.

"A lot of things happened this year that put us in a situation where it didn't allow us to get into the playoffs,” Clouston told the Ottawa Citizen last week. "No one feels worse about that than I do, or more responsible for it than I do."

Pete DeBoer, Florida Panthers: He told reporters that he doesn't know if he'll be back. At least, he's honest. This is his third full season behind the bench in Florida and he has a 102-108-34 record through Wednesday. Dale Tallon, in his first full season as GM ,may have seen enough.

“I don't worry about next year. I sleep easy at night. I know how hard we have worked as a staff,'' DeBoer told The Miami Herald recently. “I think our team plays with structure and plays hard every night. They have all year. If that's not good enough, that's for other people to decide.’’

Line Changes

Todd Richards, Minnesota Wild: This seat got hot in a mere few weeks. The Wild were up to fifth in the West just a month ago before dropping to 11th and all but mathematically out of the playoff contention. (Minnesota also missed the playoffs last season, the first season with Richards was at the helm.)

"I knew this coming in when I took the job," Richards told the Minnesota Star-Tribune last week. "Are there some things that I would change? Maybe. That's all in hindsight. For the most part, I'm comfortable and happy with the job I've done. It's not the results I want, by any means. It's not the way I want the team playing, by any means. But the opinions, the (hot seat), it goes with the job."

Then there's probably the only coach among the 16 playoff teams on the hot seat: Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.

Back at my previous stop, I piped up and asked questions to Boudreau and principal owner Ted Leonsis if a coaching change was afoot as the Caps were on an eight-game skid before Christmas. Boudreau bristled and said in so many words he doesn't worry about it and Leonsis preached patience.

That patience may have a limit and we'll put that at an entry into the second round -- and that could be generous. Boudreau could be let go if the Caps don't make it to the conference finals. They have made it past the first round only once in since Boudreau took over in Nov. 2007, including last year's first round exit after the Caps won the Presidents' Trophy. His departure would be a downer for local advertisers in the Washington area since Boudreau pitches everything from rug cleaning services to cars. 

The hot seat that isn't: Jacques LeMaire, New Jersey Devils. LeMaire's impressive turnaround of the Devils should result in some Jack Adams Award talk. Still, he had to be persuaded out of retirement and was non-committal last week about a return.

“No. I don't think so. Why not? Because it's not how the team is, how the team plays. It's not about the players, not about the organization. It will be only about myself at that point," Lemaire told The Star Ledger. "What will be good for me."

Finally, there’s the lukewarm sect. These coaches will likely be back next season, although they may not have much room to do wrong in 2011-12: Joe Sacco (Colorado Avalanche), Scott Arniel (Columbus Blue Jackets), Brent Sutter (Calgary Flames)  Davis Payne (St. Louis Blues) and Jack Capuano (New York Islanders ). 

Is there anybody else you’d want to nominate?

DETROIT LOSES BIG: A couple guys named Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were teammates on the Edmonton Oilers that last time the Detroit Red Wings allowed eight goals in two periods. 

Vladimir Sobotka and Chris Stewart don’t quite have the cachet, but they were part of St. Louis Blues team that accomplished the same thing in a 10-3 victory over Detroit on Wednesday. 

“Thank God it’s over,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock told The Detroit Free Press. “It looked like it was never going to end there for a while. It was unacceptable. Any way you look at it — more than a touchdown — it’s ugly.”

Ugly and historic. The Red Wings lost 12-3 to the Oilers in March 14, 1986, the game they allowed those eight goals in two periods. The last time they allowed 10 goals in a game was also via a Gretzky-led team, the Los Angeles Kings who won 10-3 in Oct. 9, 1993. 

WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS
New Jersey 3, NY Islanders 2
Buffalo 1, NY Rangers 0
Carolina 6, Montreal 2
St. Louis 10, Detroit 3
Anaheim 4, Calgary 2

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com