Columbus coach Richards inks two-year extension

After leading Columbus to the most successful season in franchise history, head coach Todd Richards has been rewarded.

Richards, 47, signed a two-year contract extension on Tuesday, agreeing to coach the Jackets through the 2016-17 campaign. The deal was more than deserved after Richards led Columbus to a franchise-best 43 wins this season, and orchestrated the club’s first-ever playoff victories in a spirited opening-round series loss to Pittsburgh.

“Todd has done an outstanding job for the Columbus Blue Jackets and we’re pleased that he will continue to lead our team,” Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “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.”

Locking up Richards through the next three years keeps a good chunk of Columbus’ core in place, as the likes of Nathan Horton, Jared Boll, James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson and Fedor Tyutin are locked in through ’17 as well.

That said, Kekalainen still has a very busy summer ahead of him as he needs to reach a new deal with arguably the team’s most important forward — RFA center Ryan Johansen — and may be forced to trade alternate captain R.J. Umberger, who struggled last season and fell out of the rotation, serving as a healthy scratch on a number of occasions.

Kassian sent to hospital after being involved in car accident

Scott Darling, Zack Kassian

Montreal Canadiens winger Zack Kassian was involved in a car accident early Sunday morning.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Kassian was a passenger in the vehicle that crashed into a tree.

The SUV was being driven by a 20-year-old female at the time of the accident.

Montreal police confirmed that speed didn’t play a factor in the collision, but alcohol may have.

The Canadiens have since confirmed the incident took place and have also mentioned that Kassian was taken to hospital.

A club official described his injuries as being “minor”.

“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” said Steve Petrenko, a resident of the street on which the accident took place. “He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.”

This story will be updated when more information is made available.

Habs and Fleischmann agree on one-year deal

Tomas Fleischmann,
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The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract.

According to TVA Sports, the deal is worth $750,000.

The 31-year-old was invited to camp on a professional tryout, but his preseason performance showed that he could still contribute at the NHL level.

Fleischmann found instant chemistry with new linemates David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and it looks like the trio will open the regular season as Montreal’s third line.

The veteran winger started  last season with Florida, but was traded to Anaheim on Feb. 28. He had a hard time cracking the Duck’s lineup and was a healthy scratch in most of their playoff games last spring.

Fleischmann scored eight goals and 27 points in 66 games last season.