Sunday, April 1, 2012

Game 79: St. Louis

Columbus 5 - St. Louis 2
27-45-7, 5th in Central Division, 30th in NHL
The Columbus Blue Jackets closed out their murderous Central Division schedule for 2011-12 in style, beating the division champion St. Louis Blues, 5-2 in regulation, at ScottTrade Center last night.

I missed so much of the game that it's not fair to anyone involved to offer an assessment on what little I saw.  Sorry.

Is it time to look at Todd Richards as a
legitimate candidate for the permanent
head coach of the CBJ?
However, I think the events of the past week - wins against Detroit, Florida and St. Louis...playoff teams all (Yeah, I know about Florida...but they would still be in playoff position even if they had to get seeded on merit as opposed to being first in their crappy division...) - warrant a little further discussion.  As recently as February 7, I've been lukewarm-to-negative on keeping interim coach Todd Richards around as permanent head coach. Then, on March 11th (recapping a St. Louis game, no less), I said this in relation to considering keeping Richards on board in a more permanent capacity:
I'd like to see Richards win a couple games that he wasn't supposed to with this type of roster.  I want to see him coach the team to a win or two.
 A reader astutely pointed out that the streak of Colorado, Phoenix (x2) and Los Angeles made for a nice streak.  While I didn't shoot down his assertion, I didn't entirely bite.

Now, I can't look away.

I don't care that Detroit, Florida and/or St. Louis may have bad nights.  Richards has had a crappy roster hand to play - an ECHL goalie, a mutinous captain, AHLers and kids peppering the entire lineup, a blue line corps so weak that the one star talent has to play over half the freaking game, to rattle off a few - and somehow got this team to win all three games.

One win with that roster, that's luck.  Two wins with that roster, that's really lucky.  But three convincing wins?  It just might be coaching.

Richards can only coach so well considering the players he's been given, and I daresay he's made a filet mignon out of Scott Howson's cubesteak of late.  Considering what he's pulled off - both in game performance and in starting to detoxify the post-Hitchcock roster's locker room - I'll suggest that Todd Richards warrants a very, very serious look as a candidate for permanent head coach.

3 games left.

NEXT UP: Tuesday, 10PM (yay...) in the Valley of the Sun against Dave Tippett and his cadre of former Blue Jackets known as the Phoenix Coyotes.


  1. The argument in favor of Richards mirrors the one over keeping C Noel. It's all water under the bridge, but, if Noel were here, would these "pros" have played any better for him? He has done a fine job with the former Atlanta franchise, and I found myself rooting for them on more than one occasion. I think the most important thing about Richards last two weeks has been the ice time of the players who deserve( and don't deserve) it. Look, some of these guys had already mailed it in because they saw others doing the same. In the last 6 to 8 games, you can really see the ones who would like to be considered for next year. It is at least refreshing to see that SOME players wish to remain with this organization.

    1. Good point on the parallels with the "Do we keep Claude around?" question. And yeah, I warmed to him, too. I guess I like coaches who can, you know, win.

  2. Consider Richards? Sure, but I hope there are better candidates available.


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