Columbus Has Fired Todd Richards, and Replaced Him With a Live Hand Grenade
Nothing official from the team, but it's being reported all over the Web that the Blue Jackets have sacked Todd Richards and replaced him with John Tortorella.
How did we get here?
TSN's Darren Dreger was first with the news:
Todd Richards out in CBJ. Torts in.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 21, 2015
Aaron Portzline soon followed:
Puck-rakers: #CBJ fired Todd Richards, replace him with John Tortorella https://t.co/4FGpLq0hXB— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 21, 2015
There were many ready to fire Todd Richards, and now that has been done. But, sometimes the devil you know...
Obviously, we'll have more analysis, but here are the initial details. Again, it hasn't been officially announced by the team that Tortorella has been hired, but the players have been told that Richards is out, and Porty reports an internal memo has circulated:
#CBJ internal memo to ownership group and executives was sent within the half hour, confirming Richards' firing and Tortorella hiring.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 21, 2015
[UPDATE] It's official:
OFFICIAL: John Tortorella replaces Todd Richards as #CBJ head coach. Full story --> https://t.co/Cey8mKrE39 pic.twitter.com/eIdZiKYdwx— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) October 21, 2015
We'll wait for official confirmation vis a vis compensation, but reports vary between a second and a third round pick being sent to Vancouver as compensation for hiring Torts, as he's still technically under contract with the Canucks. It was also reported that Vancouver would retain some of his salary. His contract with Vancouver ran through the 2017-2018 season, and there is no word whether the Blue Jackets have altered that deal at this point.
Tortorella has ties with John Davidson, so this move wasn't entirely surprising. He has a lengthy head coaching resume in the NHL, including trips to the playoffs in four of his six full seasons in Tampa Bay--including a Stanley Cup win in 2004--and four of his five seasons (one interim in '08-'09) in New York. But, after being fired from the Rangers, he went to Vancouver and flamed out in spectacular fashion, failing to make it through his first season before being fired. He was out of coaching last season.
So, the bag is mixed: he's a guy with plenty of success behind the bench, often jabbing with Peter Laviolette for "most coaching wins by an American-born coach". He has several trips to the playoffs under his belt, including a Cup win. His career record in the playoffs with Tampa Bay and New York is 43-46; his regular season record remains a strong 444-371-37-78.
That said, it's not all sunshine and lollipops. His brashness is legendary, and his time behind the bench has been littered with head-butting with players, media, and even fans. In the 2009 playoffs--during his initial time with the Rangers--he was suspended for a game by the league for an altercation with some Capitals fans behind the bench:
Back in Tampa Bay, he had a famous press conference in which he refused to answer any questions, simply responding with "We know what we did," to each question. When finally pressed, "What did you do?" he simply said "Next question.":
And, of course, there was that whole "Calgary Flames" thing while in Vancouver:
So, yeah. This is happening.
We'll have more in the way of editorial analysis soon.