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Pens’ AHL coach Richards leaves

Todd Richards, who won more games at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton than Penguins coach Michel Therrien, is leaving the American Hockey League team.

Richards, the winningest coach in the nine-year history of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, has been hired as an assistant to newly hired San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan.

Richards, 41, coached at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for two years, going a combined 98-48-5-8. Last season, he guided Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 47-26-3 regular-season record and a berth in the Calder Cup final. His .653 winning percentage ranks first in club history.

“Todd is a young coach who in his tenure as a head coach had a tremendous amount of success,” said McLellan, a former Detroit Red Wings assistant, on the Sharks’ Web site. “He … knows what being a part of championship teams feels like. Todd also has a very good background as a player, and his positive attitude will have a big impact on this team.”

Prior to being hired at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Richards worked for four season as an assistant with the Milwaukee Admirals, winning the 2004 AHL championship with a four-game sweep of the Penguins.

Richards joins former Chicago Blackhawks head coach Trent Yawney and former Detroit Red Wings video coach Jay Woodcroft on McLellan’s new staff.

“Todd Richards has done a tremendous job for us,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement. “We can assure our fans that (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) will continue to play an exciting brand of hockey in 2008-09.”

Shero said the search to replace Richards already has begun. One possible successor is Dan Bylsma, a second-year assistant at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


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