Hurricanes fire Muller amid playoff drought

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm •  Published: May 5, 2014
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Ron Francis wasted little time putting his stamp on the Carolina Hurricanes.

One week into his new job as general manager, Francis fired coach Kirk Muller and most of his staff.

Now leading a franchise that has made the playoffs just once in eight years, Francis cited the need for a "fresh start" and warned that nobody on the roster — from the marquee names, to the grinders at the end of the bench — is untouchable.

"I don't think changing the coaches lets the players off the hook," Francis said. "I think there has to be a lot of responsibility on their shoulders as well to turn this thing around. Hopefully we can do that going forward."

Francis, a Hall of Fame player and former captain and assistant coach with the Hurricanes, took control of the team last week when Jim Rutherford stepped aside after a two-decade run as its GM.

As part of his first big housecleaning move, assistants John MacLean and Dave Lewis also were fired and goaltending coach Greg Stefan was reassigned back to the team's pro scouting department.

Rod Brind'Amour, a third-year assistant who was the captain of Carolina's only Stanley Cup-winning team in 2006, was retained because Francis said "Roddy really didn't have, in my estimation, a prominent role on this staff."

Francis says it's "an open search at this point," is looking for "a guy who's a teacher" with strong communication and leadership qualities and ideally would like to hire his new coach before the June 27-28 draft.

"I don't really have anybody in mind," he said. "We'll start (with) a few names we're putting on the list, and we'll go forward looking at that list and see who is the best fit for our team going forward."

Muller was 80-80-27 in three seasons with the Hurricanes, who haven't made the playoffs since 2009, the longest active drought in the Eastern Conference. Carolina finished 13th in the 16-team East this season.

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