Report: Detroit expected to interview ex-Columbus coach Richards

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The remodel of Jeff Blashill’s coaching staff in Detroit is already underway — earlier this week, the Red Wings hired longtime Boston assistant Doug Houda.

And now, they’ll reportedly speak with another veteran coach.

Per MLive, the club is “expected” to interview former Wild and Blue Jackets bench boss Todd Richards for an assistant’s role on Blashill’s staff.

Richards is currently the assistant coach of Team USA at the World Hockey Championships, and would (presumably) be unavailable for interview until the end of the tournament.

But it’s easy to see why Detroit would wait to speak with him.

Blashill is reportedly looking for an “innovative” coach to spark the team’s power play, which was average at best during the regular season and went completely south in the playoffs, going 1-for-25 in an opening-round loss to Tampa Bay.

During Richards’ last full season in Columbus, the ’14-15 campaign, his club boasted the NHL’s fifth-best power play, connecting at 21.7 percent.

The year prior, the Jackets finished 11th in the league with the man advantage, en route to just the second playoff appearance in franchise history.

Richards, 49, would also meet the other criteria Blashill wants out of an assistant — NHL experience.

MORE: Marc Crawford was tied to the Red Wings job, prior to accepting in Ottawa

“A number of the candidates that I’d like to talk to are guys that have had NHL head coaching experience,” Blashill said, per MLive. “It certainly won’t be restricted to just that but there’s decisions throughout the year and throughout games that if somebody’s been through those roles they’ve got a unique perspective and one that I’d like to be able to learn from and grow our staff as a result of.”

Richards has coached in three different NHL markets — he was an assistant in San Jose prior to his time in Minnesota and Columbus — and has over 400 games on his resume.

He’s also worked with NHLers on various international platforms. Richards was an assistant coach on the U.S. team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and was the head coach of last year’s bronze medal-winning team at the Worlds.

The coaching vacancies in Detroit came after former assistant Tony Granato took the head coaching job at the University of Wisconsin, and Pat Ferschweiler — who ran the power play last season — was re-assigned to work out of the press box.