When Kent Hughes called to say the Chicago Blackhawks had asked permission to chat with him, Luke Richardson was intrigued.
Posted at 2:00 p.m
The 53-year-old, an assistant with the Canadiens since 2018, had never been a full-time head coach in the NHL before, but his brief stint in that capacity behind the Canadiens’ bench gave him hope one of those days continues.
“In Montreal I was fortunate to be able to sit behind the bench with some good coaches and a very good general manager in Marc Bergevin,” he explained at a press conference from Chicago on Wednesday. Claude Julien was an experienced coach and I was then able to work with Dominique Ducharme and Martin St-Louis, a former teammate. He has the vision of a top player and I was able to learn alongside him…
“But a year ago, during the playoffs, COVID-19 hit [Dominique Ducharme], and it gave me the opportunity to become a coach… and that experience gave me confidence. It showed me that I’m ready for a job as a head coach in this league. »
When we won our series against Vegas with the Canadian, it was real proof for me that I can do this job.
Blackhawks management appear to be in agreement as Richardson has been signed as the Chicago club’s new head coach, taking the place of interim head coach Derek King, who himself had even taken the place of Jeremy Colliton, who was sacked earlier in the season after just 12 To play.
Richardson, an Ottawa native, had a long career spanning 21 seasons as a defenseman in the NHL before trying his luck as an assistant with the Senators in 2009-2010. He then served as the head coach of the Binghamton Senators of the American League for four years.
He joined the Canadiens in July 2018 at the request of Marc Bergevin and Claude Julien.
In conversation with The press On Tuesday, the Canadian’s young defenseman Jordan Harris said of the Blackhawks’ new pilot: “He’s a coach who trusts his players and in return he gives his players confidence. I recently read that all the Canadian boys loved him and I can tell you that’s true! »
“One step at a time…”
The Blackhawk bosses obviously have their man.
“Kyle [Davidson, le DG] called me here a few weeks ago, we talked about four hours but it didn’t feel like long at all,” Richardson added. The decision makers here made me comfortable and then I got another call from Kyle who asked me to come back and that night we went to dinner and watched a game from the Stanley Cup Finals. They probably wanted to see what I thought of the game and I felt safe and comfortable.”
A bit like Montreal with Martin St-Louis, in Chicago we don’t expect the arrival of a new coach to make the team instant champions.
But Richardson doesn’t resent winning or losing too much. At least for now.
“I’ve been through these situations before as a player, as an assistant… I’m comfortable with the idea of developing players and being patient with them. I’m an optimist, I want to win every game, but you have to take it one step at a time…”
- Number of games Luke Richardson played as a player in the NHL