Richards out, Tortorella in as head coach for Blue Jackets

John Tortorella was last head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

John Tortorella will be behind the Columbus Blue Jackets’ bench Thursday in Minnesota as the team announced a change in head coaches Wednesday morning.

Todd Richards is out as Jackets head coach and will be replaced by John Tortorella, who last coached the Vancouver Canucks in the 2013-14 season.

“After much deliberation and discussion, we have made the very difficult decision late last night to remove Todd Richards as our head coach and we’ve reached an agreement with John Tortorella to join the Columbus Blue Jackets in that capacity,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement.

Tortorella signed a three-year deal through the 2017-18 season.

He led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Stanley Cup championship and four playoff berths in six full seasons. He then went to the Big Apple, where he took the Rangers to the playoffs in four of his five seasons. He was fired after just the one season with the Canucks.

In 936 games coached, Tortorella is 446-375-115 with a total of three division titles, eight playoff appearances and one Stanley Cup.

Richards was 127-112-21 in his time with the Jackets, reaching the playoffs once with a fourth place finish in the Metropolitan Division in 2013-14.

Columbus fell to 0-7 to start this season under Richards after a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders Tuesday night. The 0-7 mark to begin a season is the worst in franchise history.