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Columbus Blue Jackets Fire Coach
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The Columbus Blue Jackets have faced changes and challenges during the past few years. And Monday the team faces yet another adjustment: its head coach was fired.
The Blue Jackets have the worst record in the NHL this season winning only 11 of 41 games so far. And the team’s general manager decided during the weekend to fire head coach Scott Arniel.
General Manager Scott Howson said the team played good hockey from November to mid-December. But he said the Jackets did not maintain the momentum.
“The 11 games since then we’ve only had two wins and our play seem to be regressing, so I just thought it was time to move the team in a new direction,” Howson said.
Assistant coach Todd Richards will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Richards said he feels partly responsible for Arniel’s firing.
“Because you’re there to support the head coach and help him out. You feel afterwards there’s more you could’ve done, more you should’ve done,” Richards said.
Howson described Arniel, who became the Jackets’ head coach just 18 months ago, as a dedicated coach who just could not pull off the job.
“He did everything he could. He’s a good coach. He’s a good person. He worked very hard at it. The team was prepared, and it just didn’t work for him with this group,” Howson said.
Richards has head coaching experience from Minnesota. His record for the Wild was 77-71-16 before he was fired from that position.
Arniel’s firing comes shortly after Franklin County Commissioners sealed the deal of the Nationwide Arena purchase by the county and the City of Columbus. The move was an effort to put the team in better financial standing after speculation it would leave town. The franchise suffered multi-million dollar losses during the past several years and was unable to pay its rent.
Remarks by Scott Howson and Todd Richards are provided by the Columbus Blue Jackets.