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Predators dismiss their only coach

The Nashville Predators fired Barry Trotz, their only coach since entering the NHL in 1998.

BARRY TROTZ, the NHL's longest-tenured head coach with one team and the only coach the Predators have ever known, will not be back for a 16th season with Nashville.

The Predators announced yesterday they have told Trotz his contract will not be renewed and that they are starting a search for a new coach immediately. Trotz is being offered a job in the team's hockey operations department, though the two-time Jack Adams finalist could be a top coaching target for other teams.

Missing the playoffs two straight seasons - the first time since 2001-02 and 2002-03 - was too much for a franchise that needs to reach the postseason to sell tickets and generate crucial revenue. Trotz's contract expires June 30.

"Our organization has high expectations and we have not met them in the past two seasons," general manager David Poile said in a statement.

"As a result, it is my decision and determination that we need a new voice and a new direction . . . Our goal is to return to the playoffs with the ultimate goal of contending for the Stanley Cup.''

Said Trotz: "We didn't win this year. We didn't win last year. There's no excuse.''

Poile hired Trotz in August 1997 when the Predators were gearing up for the expansion franchise's debut season in 1998-99. Poile credited Trotz with laying the foundation and establishing the culture that has helped make the Predators successful.

Trotz coached 1,196 games with Nashville. That puts him second only to Greg Popovich of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs for longest active coaching tenure in the four major sports. He is the only NHL coach to take his team to the playoffs in a span of seven of eight seasons between 2003-04 and 2011-12. He is 21-21-7 in the playoffs, advancing to two conference semifinals.

"He has been the face and voice of our team for 15 years,'' Poile said. "He created, developed and lived 'The Predator Way' - on the ice, in the office and in the community.''


* Brendan Shanahan is officially on the job in the Toronto Maple Leafs' front office.

The Hockey Hall of Famer was introduced as Toronto's new president and said he's eager to get to work learning about the organization, which missed the playoffs after a late-season collapse.

The 45-year-old Toronto native will oversee all team operations for the franchise. Shanahan had been working as the head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety.

He won three Stanley Cups and played for five teams over his long playing career.