Guess who's back? After an 0-7-0 start to the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets have fired head coach Todd Richards and have replaced him with John Tortorella. News of the firing was first reported by TSN's Darren Dreger.
Richards was in his fifth season as coach in Columbus. He led the Blue Jackets to the postseason only once, in 2014, and they were eliminated in the first round. The team lost its seventh game on Tuesday in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders.
“After much deliberation and discussion, we have made the very difficult decision late last night to remove Todd Richards as our head coach and we’ve reached an agreement with John Tortorella to join the Columbus Blue Jackets in that capacity,” said Columbus General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement.
“None of us saw our season unfolding the way it has and every one of us from management to coaches to players bears responsibility. There is still a lot of hockey to be played and we believe this change was necessary to give our team the best chance to accomplish the goals we’ve set for this season.”
Tortorella compiled a 446-375-115 record as a coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He won a Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Lightning and led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012. He was fired by Vancouver in 2014.
Known for his fiery personality, Tortorella was suspended for a playoff game against the Caps in 2009 after getting into a confrontation with a fan. He was also suspended for 15 days in 2013-14 after having to be physically restrained for attempting to confront Calgary coach Bob Hartley in the hallway during a game.
Tortorella's deal with Columbus is for three years. As Vancouver was still paying a portion of his salary, Elliotte Friedman reports they will receive a second-round draft pick from Columbus.
The Capitals will play the Blue Jackets four times this season, starting on Oct. 30 in Columbus.
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