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Richards leaves Penguins to join San Jose staff

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Todd Richards has been named an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, it was announced on Wednesday.

Richards will be an assistant under new Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.

“Todd Richards has done a tremendous job for us in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and we congratulate him on this great opportunity to coach in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks,” said Ray Shero, general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “We already have begun our search for a new head coach in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and can assure our fans that the Penguins will continue to play an exciting brand of hockey in 2008-09.”

Richards, 41, spent two seasons as head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, leading the team to a 98-48-5-8 record. His 98 victories are second on the team’s all-time list, while his .653 points percentage places him first in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton history.

A former assistant with the Milwaukee Admirals, Richards was named the fourth head coach in team history on August 3, 2006. In his first season with the Penguins, Richards guided the team to a 51-23-2-3 mark, tying the team record for victories in a season and earning a spot behind the bench for the PlanetUSA All-Stars at the 2007 AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto.

This past season, Richards led the Penguins to the East Division regular season title with a 47-26-3-4 record and a spot in the Calder Cup Finals against the Chicago Wolves.

Joining Richards as an assistant coach in San Jose will be former AHL head coach Trent Yawney. Former Calder Cup-winning goalie Corey Schwab will serve as the club’s goaltending development coach, working with the Sharks’ prospects in Worcester.