When you not only take a team to the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history, but also lead that team to their first two wins in franchise history, it’s safe to assume that your job status would be classified as secure.
Apparently, Jarmo Kekalainen agrees with that assumption. The Columbus Blue Jackets general manager stated on Tuesday that the organization will offer head coach Todd Richards a long-term extension to remain on as the team’s bench boss, this coming less than 24 hours after watching his team get eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
“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 via The Columbus Dispatch. “It will bring stability to the organization.”
The idea of stability is something that the Blue Jackets as an organization isn’t used to. During their brief 14-year history, Columbus has had eight different coaches. Richards currently sits as the second-winningest coach in franchise history with 85 wins in two seasons.
What else makes him a man the team feels can lead them to better things in the future? Richards’ personality is exactly what Kekalainen feels the Blue Jackets need.
“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. It’s a demanding group, but it’s a fair group. That shows in how the team plays — we’ve been honest, hard-working, well-prepared and hard to play against. We see it from inside the building, and people all around the NHL see it, too.”
Mike’s Musings: It’s nice to see things become stable in Columbus. With so much talk regarding the team’s future in the city over the last few years, it’s nice to see some good come to a fan base that proved to be a rabid hockey market just waiting to be awoken by a winning team.
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