August 15th, 2010
by toryu101

Is the signing of Rick Wilson a sign of a rift between Todd Richards and Chuck Fletcher?

Written by Derek Felska
Sunday, 15 August 2010 12:45
A subtle but important job skill to possess is interpersonal awareness.  For those of you not aware of what that is, it means the awareness of knowing your surroundings and the people your with.  It also means an ability to ‘read between the lines’ and find the hidden meanings in what people say.  For example, you’re terminated from a job and the reason the company gives for your firing as “personal differences” which really means they did not like you very much.  Sure at times you can read too much into what people say, but usually actions have an underlying message to them.  It can drive you crazy at times as you analyze in your mind over what they were really trying to tell you.  For others its much more simplistic, living either in a state of ignorance or not caring what that person may have been trying to say to them and accepting their words for what they are.  To each their own, but when the Wild hired long-time NHL assistant coach Rick Wilson should we as fans read more into this than just taking it as a simple coaching addition?

Why?  A year ago the Wild brought in Crystal, Minnesota-native Todd Richards to be the team’s 2nd bench boss in franchise history.  Many felt that Richards, who never failed to have qualified to make the playoffs in his coaching career which included stints in the AHL (Wilkes-Barre and Milwaukee) and with the San Jose Sharks would bring an up-tempo style where defenseman were taking a greater part of starting up the offensive attack.  Afterall, Richards was star offensive defenseman for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1985-89 so why wouldn’t people expect him to push for more contributions from the team’s blueline?  Well it didn’t work out that way last season.  All too often Minnesota’s defenseman; especially Brent Burns and Marek Zidlicky were far too reckless in their sojourns to join the attack and that led to odd-man chances and the result was the team gave up around 40 more goals than it did the season before and the Wild (as well as Richards) found themselves out of the playoffs.  So much for the new ‘exciting’ up-tempo play.  So where is all of this reading between the lines I mentioned earlier?

It has been speculated by Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Wild beat writer Michael Russo in a blog post he made on August 6th, 2010 were he stated, “I think former Wild center Darby Hendrickson is the guy Richards really wants.  But Hendrickson makes good money as a Northwest Division rep for the NHLPA and I’m told by multiple sources that he’s been offered the Gophers’ color job from Fox Sports Net-North.  Plus he works for FSN as a Wild analyst.  So Hendrickson has a lot of options to weigh through.  But I’m sure Hendrickson would be very intrigued by a unique coaching opportunity with his hometown Wild.  So we’ll see where this goes with time.”  Ok, so Todd Richards perhaps wanted Darby Hendrickson who cares?  Well listen to what Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher says as the rumors started to spread the team was looking at Rick Wilson to be an assistant coach in another Russo report that was filed the same day.  Chuck Fletcher stated, “As you reported, there’s (three) teams here (with Tampa and Dallas) Just because there’s more parties and more people involved, it just takes longer. If everyone was at their desk, you’d get this done in two days (laughs). But I think it should work out. We’re assuming it will.”  Isn’t that interesting?  The coach wants Darby Hendrickson, but the GM doesn’t seem to care and picks someone else.  See what I mean by reading between the lines?  Could this be a sign of a rift in philosophy between Richards and Fletcher? (click on the link for the rest of the article)

What do you think?  Could this be sign of a rift or not at all?


Posted in Minnesota Wild, National Hockey League, WESTERN CONFERENCE | Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Is the signing of Rick Wilson as assistant coach a sign of a rift between Todd Richards and Chuck Fletcher?”

  1. MVN » Wilson will help the defense. Says:

    [...] found this blog post over on MVN.COM ; first off I wouldn’t call it a rift but a smart hockey move by the Minnesota Wild general [...]

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  4. Derek Felska Says:

    Thanks a lot for the comments. I think Rick Wilson has helped the defense a lot. The team certainly became more defensively responsible upon his arrival. He has done a great job with Minnesota’s cast of young blueliners. It looks like Marek Zidlicky is a lost cause, but I don’t blame Wilson for that. Thanks again for the comments!

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