Wild fire Richards after two seasons

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:24 PM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild fired Todd Richards on Monday after two years at the helm.

"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," said Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher.

The 44-year-old compiled a 77-71-16 record and failed to lead his club to the playoffs in either campaign.

Richards was hired in June of 2009 to succeed Jacques Lemaire, the only other head coach for the franchise since it joined the NHL in 2000.

His promises of an up-tempo game, in stark contrast to Lemaire's patented defensive system, produced a pair of winning seasons, but ultimately failed to crack the tough Western Conference postseason picture.

"Todd and his staff worked extremely hard to help this team win hockey games and ultimately these are tough decisions," Fletcher added. "I just felt going forward we needed a new voice to lead this team into next season. Certainly, this disappointment of not making the playoffs had a part in this, but I also feel that we needed a new direction.

"Once you come to that decision, the important thing is -- for the organization and for the individuals affected -- to do it as quickly as possible."

Minnesota remained in playoff contention for much of the just-completed year, finishing with a 39-35-8 record, good for third in the Northwest Division, but only ranked 12th in the West with 86 points.

The Wild have not seen the playoffs since Lemaire's second-to-last season as head coach in 2007-08. Minnesota dropped a six-game series to rival Colorado.


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