Hurricanes fire Maurice, hire Laviolette - Printable Version

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- T-Monay820 - 12-16-2003 07:52 PM

Hurricanes fire Maurice, hire Laviolette

By JAY COHEN, Associated Press Writer
December 16, 2003

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford thinks Peter Laviolette can help solve the Hurricanes' scoring woes.

"I got to a point that I still felt that this team had a chance this year with 52 games left,'' Rutherford said. "I just felt that we needed to get some fresh ideas into our dressing room.''

The struggling Hurricanes fired coach Paul Maurice on Monday, and replaced him with Laviolette, the former New York Islanders coach.

"He brings experience and an aggressive coaching style to the Hurricanes,'' Rutherford said.

Carolina is 8-12-8-2 for 26 points, next to last in the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes are last in the NHL with 56 goals or 1.87 a game, one-half the total of the league-leading Detroit Red Wings.

Maurice was in his ninth season, the longest current stretch with one NHL team. He took the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002.

Assistant coach Randy Ladoceur and goaltending consultant Don Edwards also are out, Rutherford said. Hurricanes assistant coach Kevin McCarthy and recently retired Carolina forward Jeff Daniels will join Laviolette behind the bench.

Maurice, who coached the franchise for two years when it was in Hartford, is the third NHL coach fired this season.

The Florida Panthers dismissed Mike Keenan in November, and the Washington Capitals replaced Bruce Cassidy last week. The Capitals are the only team that trails Carolina in the division.

Laviolette said he wants the Hurricanes to play "a very high-tempo game.''

"I want to get in on the forecheck, bang bodies, get pucks to the net, people to the net and in turn, generate more offense,'' he said. "Just a change in general and a new look, a fresh voice and fresh idea could very well be enough on its own.''

Laviolette received a three-year contract and will coach his first game with Carolina against Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Laviolette had 77 wins in two seasons as coach of the Islanders, ranking as the third-winningest coach in team history. He led the team to the playoffs in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons but was fired after the Islanders' first-round loss to Ottawa.

Carolina had big expectations entering this season. The team acquired Danny Markov, Bob Boughner and Glen Wesley to bolster its defense in the offseason.

Maurice's leaves the team as the franchise's coaching leader in wins during the regular season (268) and playoffs (17).

He became the first coach in franchise history to make it to the Stanley Cup finals when Carolina downed Toronto in six games to secure the 2002 Eastern Conference title. The Hurricanes lost to Detroit in the finals.

Under Maurice, the Hurricanes won the Southeast Division in 1999 and 2002 and had four consecutive winning seasons from 1998-02.

Maurice got the coaching job with Hartford 12 games into the 1995-96 season.

His firing means Ottawa coach Jacques Martin, in his eighth full season with the Senators, has the longest tenure as a head coach of one team in the league.

- T-Monay820 - 12-16-2003 07:52 PM

Maybe now we'll start scoring more than 2 goals a game.

- cbfranchise3 - 12-16-2003 08:36 PM

Dude, I started this thread already. 05-nono