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Jackets Fire Arniel


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http://www.nhl.com/ice/m_news.htm?id=610669

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced Monday morning that they have relieved Scott Arniel of his duties as coach.

Assistant coach Todd Richards will be Arniel's replacement, on an interim basis, for the rest of the 2012-13 season.

Richards, who joined the club as an assistant coach on June 20, 2011, will make his debut behind the Blue Jackets bench on Tuesday when the club visits the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards, 45, compiled a 77-71-16 record as the head coach of the Minnesota Wild from 2009-11. Prior to joining the Wild, he served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09 when the club compiled an NHL-best 53-18-11 record. Richards spent two seasons as the head coach of the American Hockey League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins from 2006-08, compiling a 98-49-13 record and leading the club to the 2008 Calder Cup Final.

 

The dismissal of Arniel was announced less than 24 hours after the Blue Jackets dropped a 7-4 decision to the Duck in Anaheim.

Arniel, in his second season with the Blue Jackets, had led the team to 11-25-5 record this season. At the season's midway point, Columbus, in last place in the League, has just 27 points and is 20 points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Arniel, 49, finishes his Columbus tenure with a 45-60-20 record. He was the fifth coach in Blue jacket history, replacing Ken Hitchcock to  start of the 2009-10 season.

He is the seventh NHL coach to be fired this season.

Richards, who joined the club as an assistant coach on June 20, 2011, will make his debut behind the Blue Jackets bench on Tuesday when the club visits the Chicago Blackhawks.

St. Louis fired Davis Payne in November and that was followed by a spate of coaching changes as Carolina (Paul Maurice), Washington (Bruce Boudreau), Anaheim (Randy Carlyle), Montreal (Jacques Martin) and Los Angeles (Terry Murray) all changed coaching direction.

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Richards has a great opportunity. The team is dead last, which means there's no where to go but up. The season my be over, as playoffs are a very tall order at this time, but if he can turn the club around with a "respectable" finish, no one will speak ill of them. They'll get a fresh start next year. Convince Rick Nash to hang on for another year or so, and watch what happens!

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