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Hurricanes fire Laviolette; make Maurice head coach

Darren Dreger

12/3/2008 12:14:34 PM

The Carolina Hurricanes have fired head coach Peter Laviolette and in a unique about face, have replaced him with former Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice.

This move comes amid weeks of speculation of change in Carolina and the teams' battle with consistency with Laviolette at the helm.

Laviolette, last month, surpassed John Tortorella to become the winningest American born coach in NHL history with his 240th victory.

Laviolette was hired by the Hurricanes in December of 2003 after Maurice was fired just 30 games in to the season.

Carolina missed the playoffs in Laviolette's first season behind the bench; however following the lockout in 2004-2005, a rejuvenated Hurricanes team thrived in 2005-2006 en route to a Stanley Cup Championship.

However, since that Cup run Carolina has been challenged with injuries and has missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

Carolina has won just 4 of its last 10 games and sits second in the Southeast and eighth in the Eastern Conference, but the Hurricanes face a tough schedule this week with Pittsburgh in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, followed by the Philadelphia Flyers visit on Saturday.

Maurice, who resides in the Toronto area, has been attending university classes since being fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs last May.

He interviewed for coaching vacancies in Florida, Atlanta and the New York Islanders during the off-season and has most recently been helping monitor games in the NHL's war room in Toronto on a weekly basis.