Did Todd Richards Go Too Far?


Apr. 3, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards looks on during the first period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Minnesota Wild fell 3-2 to Sergei Bobrovsky and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets at the Xcel Energy Center. After heading into the first intermission up 1-0 on a rare tally from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota quickly fell behind 2-1 in the second. With less than three minutes left in the game, defenseman Ryan Suter fired a blast from the left circle that was touched by Zach Parise before being deposited in the back of the net by Jason Pominville. That would be all for Minnesota as they couldn’t solve Bobrovsky in overtime and then the shootout.

After the game, former Minnesota Wild Head Coach—now current Blue Jackets Head Coach—Todd Richards made a statement that has rubbed many the wrong way, “Our goalie was better than their goalie … by a wide margin.”

Okay, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up. I’m sensing a little built up resentment from Mr. Richards. I get it that Bobrovsky is an incredible goalie—worthy of the Vezina even. However, that doesn’t mean you lob hand grenades at your old team for really no good reason, especially while they’re down. That’s just low.

Grow up. Get a life. I realize that Richards is a comparatively young head coach in the NHL, but the last thing you want to do is get a reputation for being a complete jerk. General Managers look for coaches that have character, integrity, know how to win and are respectful. Todd Richards’ comment was not respectful in the slightest.

Obviously, only Richards knows the full reason why the poison words passed his lips, but the fact of the matter is that they came from somewhere. Todd Richards doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy to just say stuff; he said it to make a point, and I don’t think it’s a good one. The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo didn’t think so, either.

The point is that even players are respectful of each other. According to Wild winger Devin Setoguchi, “That’s a goalie stealing a game.” You never hear players saying that someone is a terrible player, unless maybe they’re talking about themselves.

As to Backstrom’s success this season, he’s quietly been posting one of his best yet with a 20-12-3 record with a .914 save percentage, 2.36 goals against average and two shutouts. In fact, in the past four games, while posting a 1-2-1 record, he’s only allowed five goals while posting a .944 save percentage and one shutout. I wouldn’t call that terrible.

Whatever feud Todd Richards has with the Minnesota Wild needs to end, because he’s the only one caught up in it. The Wild has clearly moved on; it’s time he should, too.