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Don't bring up next season yet to Todd Richards: The Wild coach has a game against the Flames on Thursday night in Calgary and the home finale against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center to prepare for.

"Right now my focus is on Calgary and on Dallas and trying to get the team ready," he said Tuesday.

Richards is certainly looking forward to next season, his second as a coach in the NHL.

"I think there are lots of reasons to be excited," he said, "but I haven't allowed myself to think too much about next season."

Asked if coaching is still fun despite falling short of the playoffs, Richards admitted: "It's not a lot of fun when you aren't winning. If you had asked me this when we were on a five-game winning streak, I'd say: 'Yeah, it's a great job. A lot of fun.' "

In the wake of his team missing the playoffs, floundering on the road and playing hide and seek with consistency, general manager Chuck Fletcher said he expects improvement throughout the roster in Year 2 under Richards.

"I have a lot of respect for Todd," he said. "I believe he has the intelligence, the work ethic and the passion to be successful as an NHL coach.

"I'm just as committed to him today as I was when I hired him last year."
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