by PuckStopsHere on 01/12/12 at 02:02 AM ET
A couple days ago coach Scott Arniel was fired by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus has been in last place for essentially the entire season so far. Currently they are five points behind any other team in the NHL. Columbus has an 11-31 record so far this season with five regulation tie points. At no point this season has Arniel shown he is a competent NHL coach. It looked as though he was going to be fired about two months ago and it didn’t happen. Nothing happened since then to help his case. Perhaps an early season firing and replacement by a good coach (Ken Hitchcock was available when the idea of firing Arniel first was discussed in the media) could have saved the season or at least kept Columbus from last place. At this point it looks like it may be too late.
Perhaps the biggest shock is that GM Scott Howson remains employed after waiting this long on a clearly failing coach.
The next coach for the Blue Jackets will be Todd Richards. He had been an assistant coach in Columbus after two years as the Minnesota Wild head coach. He had failed to lead the Wild to the playoffs in either of those seasons.
It looks as though Columbus replaced one inept unproven coach with another moderately proven but ineffective coach. This isn’t likely the kind of move that will do much to save a season. Columbus needs bigger changes than this to succeed. The start will likely be a new general manager.
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