My pre-season predictions (don’t laugh at me!) aren’t shaping up the way I thought. Hell, this whole season isn’t shaping up to what anybody thought. Having said all of that, the question is: who’s to blame?
Well, it’s probably safe to place blame on every player. But, just like in all situations in life, we look to who’s in charge: Coach Todd Richards. Union and Blue’s Mike Majeski wrote an article on why Coach Richards shouldn’t get the ax just yet.
A couple of pretty awful weeks later, is Coach Richards still safe? Or rather, should he be? I never liked the idea of firing a coach in the middle of a season. One of the assistants usually takes over and there’s never a real plan involved. If a coach needs to be fired, there should already be a replacement and a plan ready to take over.
Not to steer off the question, however, let’s take a look at the Richards case. This is a complex situation, one in which nobody involved or following thought would ever be the case. Like I mentioned, we all expected a playoff season, not this!
We first must ask ourselves the main question: should Coach Richards be fired? Yes, probably. Former Philadelphia Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette is still at large, waiting patiently for a phone call. The Columbus Blue Jackets probably need to give him a ring.
But I hope they don’t.
In Blue Jacket past, the coach always seems to get fired for the same reason. Players get tired of being held accountable and they tune him out. Coaches may think they run the show, but that’s far from the case. The players call the shot and when they want a certain guy gone, he’s gone.
Hall of fame coach Ken Hitchcock? Sorry, bud. Derick Brassard and his posse are tired of you. You’re trying to push them and hold them to a standard of professionalism. How dare you?!
I don’t know if such is the case with this group of Columbus players. I believe there is a bit more sense of pride, esspecially with guys like Brandon Dubinsky in the locker room. But even if they aren’t directly calling out their coach, they’re hinting at the idea.
Look at it this way: who’s going to get the blame in the end? The players are the ones actually playing. You don’t’ want to admit your skaters are the problem. The coach always gets the ax. Instead of calling out Brassard and the rest of the group, Howson just bowed his head and dismissed the coach.
But this management has to get it right. They can’t let the players off the hook by letting go of Richards, even if he deserves it. They need to learn how to fight through adversity. Things aren’t going well? Tough! Deal with it!
If you want to change the culture of your team, you can’t always just fire your coach and start over. This isn’t a video game. There’s no such thing as re-do. You have to play with the cards your dealt. And for this team? That’s Todd Richards as your coach.
The players need to find a way to get it done with Richards behind the bench. Even if Laviolette would be a better fit, you can’t just cave in every time the players complain. I’m not saying Todd Richards is the guy to hold this organization accountable, but keeping him on the job would do the trick by forcing the players to deal with their frustrations and win, despite.