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Stu Cowan: Lack of Luke Richardson will depart Canadiens quick on teaching expertise


He is anticipated to be named new head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks at a information convention on Tuesday or Wednesday after a contract is finalized.

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It appears to be like just like the Canadiens are going to have an enormous gap to fill behind their bench subsequent season.

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Frank Seravalli of Day by day Faceoff was the primary to report Friday afternoon Luke Richardson is anticipated to grow to be the brand new head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, with the ultimate touches being placed on his new contract. The Blackhawks are anticipated to carry a information convention to introduce Richardson as their head coach on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Richardson has been an assistant coach for the final 4 seasons with the Canadiens, answerable for dealing with the defence. This may be Richardson’s first head-coaching job within the NHL, however he has been an assistant coach for eight seasons — together with stints with the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders earlier than becoming a member of the Canadiens, and he was additionally head coach of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators for 4 seasons.

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Final 12 months, Richardson took over as interim head coach of the Canadiens after Dominique Ducharme examined optimistic for COVID-19 earlier than Sport 3 of the Stanley Cup semifinal collection in opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canadiens would win that collection in six video games, going 3-1 with Richardson as head coach. He was additionally head coach for the primary two video games of the Stanley Cup remaining, with the Canadiens dropping each video games to the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier than Ducharme returned. The Canadiens misplaced that collection in 5 video games.

“I believe I converse for all of the defencemen once I say that we’d all undergo a wall for Luke,” Ben Chiarot mentioned after the Canadiens beat the Golden Knights 3-2 in time beyond regulation in Sport 3. “That’s one of the best praise you can provide a coach. We’d undergo a wall for him as a result of we all know he’d undergo a wall for us. He’s a participant’s coach.”

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The Canadiens gamers had been extra prone to skate by a wall for Richardson than they had been for Ducharme. If Richardson may converse French, it’s important to suppose he would have changed Ducharme once more this season — no less than on an interim foundation — after the Canadiens determined to fireside their head coach following an 8-30-7 begin. As a substitute, Martin St. Louis was named head coach with none teaching expertise on the professional degree.

Richardson was an enormous assist to St. Louis. They performed collectively for one season with the Lightning and St. Louis described Richardson because the “final teammate.”

“He’s helped me so much,” St. Louis mentioned a few weeks after taking on from Ducharme. “Luke’s an important listener and when he speaks you hear and it’s calculated, it’s considerate. I do know if I’ve questions for him and stuff he’s going to provide me the reality. He’s going to inform me the reality and the reality at all times helps you progress ahead the appropriate method. I’ve leaned on all my guys. Me and Luke have a relationship, we performed collectively, however I’m attending to know Trevor (Letowski) and Alex (Burrows) and my video guys. It’s an important group and so they work laborious.”

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After the season ended, St. Louis mentioned he wasn’t planning to make any modifications to his teaching employees. The lack of Richardson will likely be massive due to his teaching expertise. St. Louis solely has 37 video games of expertise behind an NHL bench now, whereas Letowski simply accomplished his first season as an NHL assistant coach and Burrows his second.

However Montreal’s loss is Chicago’s acquire. The Blackhawks will likely be getting a head coach who’s revered all through the league. Richardson will change interim coach Derek King, who went 27-33-10 after taking on for Jeremy Colliton following a 1-9-2 begin this season.

Canadiens defenceman Chris Wideman performed three seasons with Binghamton within the AHL when Richardson was head coach.

“He’s one of many professional coaches that I’ve had that I had an important private relationship with,” Wideman mentioned this season. “I believe particularly early in my profession, first couple of years of professional, he’s a man that performed a very long time within the NHL (21 years). However the best way he carries himself off the ice is somebody which you can sort of mannequin your life after. He’s man and he takes his work very severely.”

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This was a horrific season for the Blackhawks, who settled a lawsuit with former participant Kyle Seaside in December after he mentioned he was sexually assaulted by video coach Brad Aldrich throughout the group’s 2010 Stanley Cup title run. Two month earlier, Stan Bowman resigned as GM and president of hockey operations within the wake of findings by an outdoor legislation agency wanting into the Seaside’s allegations.

“As for the Blackhawks group, we stay steadfast in our dedication to make sure that, going ahead, this group will likely be a beacon for professionalism, respect and integrity in our neighborhood,” the Blackhawks mentioned in an announcement following the settlement with Seaside. “We stay grateful for the belief and help of the Blackhawks neighborhood, and we promise to proceed working day-after-day to earn and preserve that belief.”

Hiring Richardson will likely be an enormous step ahead for the Blackhawks.

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