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Richards to remain Blue Jackets coach

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Todd Richards will remain the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The team removed the interim tag from Richards, who took over for the fired Scott Arniel on January 9, and gave him a two-year deal on Monday.

Columbus was a league-worst 11-25-5 when Richards was promoted from his position as assistant and the Blue Jackets went 18-21-2 the rest of the way. The 29 wins and 65 points were still the fewest in the NHL.

"As we analyzed available coaching candidates and individuals who might become available, it became very clear to us that he is the right person to lead our team," said Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson about Richards. "Our team continuously improved under Todd and he has earned the opportunity to build upon the work he started."

The Blue Jackets were 16-14-1 over the final 31 games of the season, winning seven of their last 11 contests.

"We have a lot of work to do to give our fans the type of team they want, but I am really excited about what lies ahead," Richards stated Monday. "We made strides last season and I'm confident that our players are ready for the challenges before us."

Richards joined the Blue Jackets last June after spending two seasons as head coach of the Minnesota Wild. He had a record of 77-71-16 during his brief tenure in St. Paul, but the club failed to make the playoffs either season.

Prior to joining the Wild, Richards served as an assistant with San Jose in 2008-09. He was the head coach at Pittsburgh's American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for two years from 2006-08, guiding the team to a mark of 98-49-13 with an appearance in the Calder Cup Finals in the spring of 2008.

The 45-year-old Richards, a Minnesota native, spent most of his 13-year playing career in the minors, but did appear in eight NHL games for the Hartford Whalers between 1990-92.

05/14 10:45:38 ET