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Columbus to make ‘long-term commitment’ to Richards, staff

Apr 29, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

richardstoddgetty Getty Images

Todd Richards will be calling Ohio home for quite some time.

Less than 24 hours after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said the club will offer Richards a long-term extension as head coach, on the heels of a season in which the Jackets set franchise records for wins (43), points (93) and won their first-ever postseason games.

“I told the coaches today that we, as an organization, would like to make a long-term commitment to the whole group of them, because they’ve earned it,” Kekalainen said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “It will bring stability to the organization.”

Stability is key. The Blue Jackets have had eight different coaches during their 14-year existence and, despite only being on the job for two years, Richards already ranks second in franchise history in wins (with 85) and first in postseason victories (granted, it’s only with two.)

Most importantly, Richards’ personality fits with Columbus’ overall philosophy.

Richards has impressed Kekalainen and club president John Davidson with his demanding, hard-working style that seems to resonate with players; the Blue Jackets aren’t a superstar-laden team, but reached the postseason this year and gave Pittsburgh a fight in the opening playoff round with a relentless, determined attack in which the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.

“He sets the bar high,” Kekalainen said. “We get better every day. A big part of that is (Richards), with his insights and his planning, the day-to-day requirement for work ethic that he has established for players.

“Todd doesn’t let guys take days off, and the assistants are the same way.”

Speaking of the Blue Jackets’ assistants — Craig Hartsburg, Dan Hinote and goalie coach Ian Clark — Kekalainen said they’ll also receive long-term deals similar to the one Richards receives.

  1. lordfletcher - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    GM Fletcher was right in hiring him back with the Wild… Was just maybe a year or two too early. Glad to see him and the city are doing well

    Cheers

    • lordfletcher - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      Holy miss wording.. Can’t do this wile working apparently.

      Meant to say fletcher was right in hiring him (back in the day) with his instincts. Just didn’t work out… Glad it is now for him in Columbus

  2. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Good to hear. Congrats to TR, the blue jackets and their fans on a solid season. Nice to see this club make real progress as an organization. And great to see the kid from MN create success as their coach.
    On a side note, he and my brother were on their first hockey team together. Barely more than babies, moms tying their skates for them. And now this. Awesome.

  3. alexnewca - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Good for them, it’s about time the jackets got some stability. Not a jackets fan, but they really surprised me in their series against the pens. Hope to see this team make more playoff appearances in the next few seasons.

  4. gregman98 - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    First-round LOSERS patting themselves hard on the back.

    • east96st - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      Hmmm, playing professional hockey, making the playoffs going against perennial favorites to win the Cup with 2 of the best players in the world and coming up short OR life as an internet troll, living with parents, and paying women to talk to you?
      Yep, you’re right! THEY are the losers. You, you, my friend, have all the answers. You & that Dos Equis guy need to throw down to see which one of you is REALLY the most interesting man in the world.

      • gregman98 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:28 PM

        Did the BJs win the series or lose it?

        Yup, I am indeed RIGHT. They ARE losers.

        Sore much?

      • lordfletcher - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        a Wild fan that thinks no one in Columbus should be “sore” as you put it.

        Look at what Columbus has been able to accomplish with their limit resources up till the last days of whats his face (in Edmonton now) and new leadership.

        Columbus is young and trending up.

        Pitts was handed a great team with their “luck” in the draft … what if every team had a pair of generational talents in Crosby and Malkin?

        stay in school

  5. LampyB - Apr 29, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Gregman you’re an idiot. Your Pens will be second round losers to either philly or nyr. Doesnt matter who, they choke in playoffs and crysby sobs.

    • mellard1121 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Really gregman? Dude be happy for Columbus its great for thr nhl when small market teams and there citys experience what happened with cbj this year it brings more ppl to hockey which at end of day is the most important thing not bashing a team who had no one giving them a shot but still played their asses off and showed alota heart and skill

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