I like this move. I like that it meshes with what Fletch has said he's looking for. I like that it allows him a bit of familiarity with the key person on his staff. I like that Richards will be a hungry, young coach. I like that, if anything, coaching "at home" will add more pressure to him, not less - I don't think he'll just be at Manny's every night letting people buy him drinks and stuff. I like all of those things.
Mostly I like that this was done now and not later. Because I think the team is ill-equipped to play this style and win games this season. So getting all his ducks in a row now will allow Fletch the most possible time to go out and woo. And I hope Mrs. Fletcher is not the jealous type because Fletch is going to be wooing his ass off.
Unless...part of Fletch's vision of the Minnesota Wild as "his" team includes putting his stamp on the team from the ground up. And so he doesn't go out and spend to within a couple mil of the cap this summer, doesn't get crazy with UFAs, fields a respectable lineup for sure, but doesn't bring in a Hossa (for example) and back up a Brinks truck to Gaby's garage. Then the team is more exciting just because it's new and it's, well, more exciting which keeps the fans engaged, but maybe if they don't make the playoffs, maybe that's not the worst thing in the world. Particularly if the Wild can get into the top 10 in the draft for next summer (2010), maybe move a couple pieces next season to free up some space (against the all-but assumed to be falling cap) and get back some good picks in return...maybe?
So far, I think Fletch is batting 1.000. I'm on board as a fan. I'm even enthusiastic about the near- and long-term outlook right now. And I'm willing to go through a scenario like the one I painted above. But one's batting average is a trailing indicator; it does not, as we say in the business, predict or depict future success.