The Islanders made official the hiring of former NHL defenseman and AHL coach Luke Richardson, naming him Doug Weight’s assistant today.
The move was mentioned a few weeks ago by Arthur Staple of Newsday, along with the letting go of assistant coach Bob Corkum. There might be some more hires on the way, too.
Richardson played over 1,400 games in the NHL, including a bunch of years in Edmonton with Weight as a teammate. He also played for the Flyers, Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs and Lightning before finishing up with two seasons for his hometown Senators. With 2055 career PIMs on his resume, I’d describe his play style as “tough son of a gun.”
After playing, Richardson moved behind the Senators bench as an assistant for two years before taking over their AHL club in Binghamton. He coached the Baby Sens for 304 games and a 153-120-17-14 record, but left the team last April to pursue an NHL gig. He was interviewed for the open job in Anaheim that eventually went (again) to Randy Carlyle, but ended up coaching Team Canada in a few tournaments overseas. He coached Team Canada to a victory in last year’s Spengler Cup, the team’s second consecutive title at the tournament.
From the official release:
"Luke brings a tireless work ethic and outstanding character to our organization," Weight said. "He'll have his hands on every aspect of the team, including our systems, skill development and team culture. Luke's coaching experience, including four years running an organization as Head Coach in Binghamton, make him an excellent addition to our staff."
Richardson’s name has been one of those that pops up periodically whenever there’s an opening available, and he seems like he’s been knocking on the door of an NHL job for a while. It seems weird, but this might be one of the rare times where the Islanders get the GOOD HOCKEY MAN™ Seal of Approval for a hiring, rather than a raised eyebrow.
We’ll see what he brings to the staff next season and if his intermission interviews can be better than the all-time champion, former assistant coach Scott Allen, a.k.a. “Scawt Al-in.”