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MN native, ex-Wild coach Todd Richards fired by Blue Jackets

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There's nothing quite like the firing of a head coach to pull a talented team out of a brutal slump... if it works.

Columbus, which finished last season 16-2-1 in its final 19 games, fired head coach Todd Richards Wednesday following an 0-7-0 start to the season, TSN's Darren Dreger

" target="_blank">reports. ESPN confirmed the report.

Richards, a native of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, coached the Wild from 2009-2011 and was fired and replaced with Mike Yeo after missing the playoffs both seasons. Minnesota finished fourth and third in the Northwest Division under Richards.

With Richards out, the Blue Jackets play the Wild at Xcel Energy Center Thursday night under new bench boss John Tortorella. Tortorella, as Sporting News notes, is known for being intense and a bit callus during postgame press conferences – but he has won a Stanley Cup (2004 with Tampa Bay) and he's reached the postseason in eight of his 10 seasons as a head coach.

Tortorella is now tasked with fixing a team that is off to a historically bad start. According to CBS Sports, the Blue Jackets are just the sixth team in NHL history to lose its first seven games in regulation, and only the third since 1948. The others:

  • 1983-84 Capitals
  • 1997-98 Blackhawks.
  • 1947-48 Blackhawks
  • 1943-44 New York Rangers
  • 1938-39 Montreal Canadiens

Columbus has lost every game this season by a minimum of two goals, but Blue Jackets players, to no avail, stood up for Richards after a 4-0 loss to the Islanders Tuesday night.

“He cares a lot about winning. He cares deeply about this organization, the city, the fans, the team, the players … I feel like we’re letting him down, and it’s unfortunate. It’s a really (crappy) feeling," Brandon Dubinsky said of Richards, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

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Todd Richards will be leading Columbus Tuesday night when the Wild visits the Blue Jackets. Richards was fired by the Wild last year, but has since taken over as the interim head coach of Columbus. He says facing the Wild is like "running into an ex-girlfriend."