BOSTON - The Boston Bruins fired general manager Peter Chiarelli on Wednesday, days after missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years and just four seasons after the franchise won its first Stanley Cup title since 1972.
The statement from the team said coach Claude Julien and the rest of his staff "will remain in place at this time."
Chiarelli was hired in 2006, and he assembled the team that beat the Vancouver Canucks for the 2011 NHL championship. The Bruins returned to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013, and last year they had the best regular-season record in the league.
But this year they were eliminated from the playoff race on the final day of the regular season.
"His efforts undoubtedly helped the team achieve great success during his tenure and he helped restore the proud tradition of Boston Bruins hockey," Bruins President Cam Neely said in a statement. "We ultimately feel that this change is necessary in order to ensure sustainable success for the club both in the short term and the long term."
The Bruins were hampered this season by injuries to defencemen Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton and centre David Krejci.
But Chiarelli also made two costly decisions last off-season.
After letting Jarome Iginla leave as a free agent, Chiarelli failed to replace his scoring potential, and the Bruins dropped from No. 3 in the NHL in goals scored to No. 23. He also traded defenceman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders just before the season — a salary cap move that left the team short.
With one game left in the season, Chiarelli called it "a failure on everybody's part."
"But being a failure doesn't mean there has to be a complete overhaul of everything," he said.
A Harvard graduate, Chiarelli was the assistant GM in Ottawa when he was hired to take over the Bruins in 2006. Coach Dave Lewis lasted just one season, in which the team missed the playoffs, before Chiarelli hired Julien to replace him.
In 2011, the Bruins overcame a 3-2 series deficit to beat Vancouver for their sixth Stanley Cup. Two years later, they lost a six-game final to the Chicago Blackhawks.
At the team's post-season news conference, Julien said that whether he keeps his job "is not my decision to make."
"I've been here for eight years and enjoyed being here," he said. "And (I'm) certainly looking forward to staying here. But again, having said that, I also understand the nature of this business."