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Former Isles coach succeeds Maurice

12/16/2003 - Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Coach Paul Maurice was fired Monday by the
struggling Carolina Hurricanes in his ninth season, the longest
current stretch with one NHL team.

Maurice, who took the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup finals in
2002, was replaced by former New York Islanders coach Peter
Laviolette.

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

The Hurricanes are 8-12-8-2 for 26 points in the Southeast
Division. Their next game is Thursday at home against Pittsburgh.

"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."

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."

"Just a change in general and a new look, a fresh voice and
fresh idea could very well be enough on its own," said Laviolette,
who received a three-year contract.

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. But the team's offense has been weak.
Carolina is last in the NHL with 56 goals or 1.87 a game, one-half
the total of the league-leading Detroit Red Wings.

Maurice's leaves the team as the franchise coaching leader in
regular-season and playoff wins with 268 and 17.

He became the first coach in franchise history to make it to the
Stanley Cup finals when Carolina downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 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 the Hartford Whalers 12 games
into the 1995-96 season. His firing means Ottawa coach Jacques
Martin, in his eighth full season with the Senators, now has the
longest tenure as a head coach of one team in the league.