NHL notes: Blue Jackets extend coach Todd Richards

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed coach Todd Richards to a two-year contract extension Tuesday. (BEN...

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed coach Todd Richards to a two-year contract extension Tuesday. (BEN PELOSSE/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:13 PM ET

Coach Todd Richards signed a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season Tuesday after leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to the most successful season in franchise history.

The Jackets won a team-record 43 games in the regular season and reached the NHL playoffs for the second time in history, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games during the opening round.

“Todd has done an outstanding job for the Columbus Blue Jackets and we’re pleased that he will continue to lead our team,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “We believe he is one of the top young coaches in the NHL because of his knowledge of the game, work ethic and ability to communicate well and bring out the best in our players.”

In 171 games as Jackets coach, Richards has a 85-70-16 record for a .544 winning percentage, the best in franchise history. Columbus narrowly missed the playoffs during the 2012-13 season.

“He’s played a significant role in our recent success and we look forward to having him continue to be a big part of our franchise moving forward,” Kekalainen said.

The 47-year-old Richards took over halfway through the 2011-12 season when he was promoted from assistant to head coach, replacing Scott Arniel. Richards previously served as the Minnesota Wild’s head coach from 2009-11.

RENNEY IN RUNNING

Tom Renney is in the running to coach the Florida Panthers, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

The former coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers is one of five to seven candidates the team is talking to, the report says.

After a slew of first-time coach hires, including Peter Horachek, Kevin Dineen and Pete DeBoer, general manager Dale Tallon is apparently focused on bringing in somebody with NHL experience.

Renney has been an associate coach with the Detroit Red Wings for the past two seasons.

The Sun-Sentinel previously reported Marc Crawford is also in mix for the Panthers coaching gig.

OZOLINSH HANGS ‘EM UP

Sandis Ozolinsh is calling it a career, according to Latvia’s Sporta Centrs.

The 41-year-old defenceman spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and New York Rangers. He collected 167 goals and 397 assists in 875 games.

Ozolinsh spent the past five seasons playing in the KHL.

A seven-time NHL all-star, Ozolinsh won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 1996.


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