To date I’ve covered some positive aspects of the CBJ 2013 season (my picks for MVP and best forwards, my reflections on how getting Gaborik is a good sign for the future). Today’s consideration is a more ambiguous one, something that trends to the negative but is complicated by the makeup of the entire team. Today we look at what to make of the short-season work of Todd Richards.
For some in the media, Richards seems like a surefire Jack Adams candidate. There’s this grand narration of how Richards brought a team from the very bottom of the NHL to merely one point shy of the second playoff berth in franchise history. And to be fair, it is a compelling tale on the surface. Lowly Columbus, lifted from the chaos, made to be culturally positive and focused on the task at hand. Surely he has to be granted some credit, right?
Unfortunately I don’t think the results line up with that kind of inspirational theory. Yes, Columbus was lifted out of the basement. But the move was done on the back of the presumptive Vezina winner. In fact, if we’re going to observe the facts of the case, Columbus finished worse this year in one of the most predictive statistics in hockey. But this leads to some even more intriguing questions that cut deeper than what Todd Richards might be capable of. Let’s start with the team’s performance.