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Winless Blue Jackets fire Todd Richards, hire John Tortorella as coach

Winless Blue Jackets fire Todd Richards, hire John Tortorella as coach
Todd Richards talks with an official during a Blue Jackets game against the Penguins on Dec. 13, 2014. (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

John Tortorella is back coaching in the NHL after the Columbus Blue Jackets fired Todd Richards on Wednesday with the team off to an 0-7 start.

Tortorella, who won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, had been out of hockey since the Canucks fired him in May 2014 after one season in Vancouver. He takes over for Richards, who had been with the Blue Jackets since 2012 and led them to only their second NHL playoff appearance in 2013-14, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round.

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Richards was on the hot seat after Columbus became just the sixth NHL team to open with seven consecutive losses with a 4-0 defeat against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. It's the Blue Jackets' worst start to a season in franchise history, and their longest losing streak since dropping seven straight in regulation from Nov. 11-25.

Tortorella signed a three-year contract and will make his debut Thursday when Columbus visits Minnesota.

With a 446-375-115 record over 14 seasons, the 57-year-old Tortorella is the NHL's winningest U.S.-born coach.

Richards finished with a 127-112-21 record with the Blue Jackets. They have scored just 13 goals and have allowed an NHL-worst 34 goals.

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