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Jackets extend coach's contract

The SportsXchange

After leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to within one point of making the playoffs this past season, coach Brad Richards received a one-year contract extension on Friday.

The extra year takes Richards' contract through the 2014-15 season.

The expansion Blue Jackets have made the playoffs only once in their history and most years have not come close to the postseason. But in 2013, the Jackets were nosed out of a spot on the final day of the regular season after finishing with a 24-17-7 record. The .573 winning percentage was a franchise best.

"We believe Todd is one of the top young coaches in our game and he has had a steadying influence on our team since taking over as head coach in January 2012," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "The hard work put in by Todd and our coaching staff has been a big reason for our team's improved play and we are excited that he will continue to serve as our head coach."

Richards, 46, has a 42-38-9 record with the Blue Jackets, taking over midway thorugh the 2011-12 season after Scott Arniel was fired. Before coming to Columbus, Richards was 77-71-17 in two seasons as Minnesota Wild coach.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the Vezina Trophy winnter, played a big role in the Blue Jackets' success this past season. Bobrovsky is a restricted free agent and has yet to sign a contract with Columbus. The Jackets have the right to match an offer from other NHL teams, but there is a strong possibility that Bobrovsky could leave for the KHL in his native Russia.

Earlier Friday, Blue Jackets assistant coach Keith Acton left to become to the associate head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
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