The Columbus Blue Jackets have fired head coach Todd Richards, replacing him with former Vancouver Canucks bench boss John Tortorella.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was inevitable. After stumbling from the gate 0-7-0, Blue Jackets management had to do something. While they were shopping around for a top-two defenseman, they simply couldn’t find that type of help via the trade market. Their only option left was a coaching change.
Richards becomes the first NHL coach to lose his job this season. He guided the Jackets to a playoff berth in 2013, and did his best to keep his injury-decimated club competitive last season. However, the Jackets put themselves into a deep hole with their current losing skid. Richards struggled to find solutions without success.
In Tortorella, the Jackets get a proven NHL coach who’s a proponent of an up-tempo defensive system involving physical play and shot blocking. He’s also infamous for his short temper. While “Torts” had success in Tampa Bay (winning a Stanley Cup in 2004) and the New York Rangers, he only lasted one season with the Vancouver Canucks after they missed the playoffs in 2013-14. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly he reverses the Jackets’ slide.