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Wild fire coach Richards after two seasons with team

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Consecutive non-playoff seasons ended up costing Minnesota Wild coach Todd Richards his job.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced Monday that Richards has been relieved of his coaching duties effective immediately.
 
"I would like to thank Todd for the hard work he provided to the Minnesota Wild organization the last two seasons and wish him the best in the future," Fletcher said.

"Todd and his staff worked extremely hard to help this team win hockey games and ultimately these are tough decisions," he added in comments posted on the team's offical website. "I just felt going forward we needed a new voice to lead this team into next season. Certainly, the disappointment of not making the playoffs had a part in this, but I also feel that going forward we needed a new voice; we needed a new direction. Once you come to that decision the important thing is -- for the organization and for the individuals affected -- the important thing is to do it as quickly as possible."

Richards, 44, posted a record of 77-71-16 in two seasons with the Wild. The team concluded its season Sunday with a 5-3 win that kept the Dallas Stars from claiming the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth. The Wild finished with a 39-35-8 record, 11 points behind the Chicago Blackhawks, who retained the eighth seed after the Stars lost.

"Without question you look back, and there's always hindsight," Richards said following Sunday's victory. "Would you do some things differently? Absolutely there are some things I'd do differently, but for the most part there's not too many things I would change."

The Wild haven't reached the playoffs since 2008 when the franchise's original coach, Jacques Lemaire, was still behind the bench.

"We'll find the right fit," Fletcher told the team website. "Coaching's coaching; it's about communication, it's about structure and it's about holding players accountable. Most teams play similar systems now and we'll just try to find the right fit for this particular team. Every team is different; not every coach is a good fit with every team. I think the important thing is to find the right fit. That's what we'll do and we'll take the necessary time to find the right coach."

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