Peter Laviolette won more games than any American-born coach in NHL history. But he had not won enough of them recently to keep his job with the Carolina Hurricanes, so they replaced him.
Taking over will be the coach Laviolette replaced five years ago.
The Hurricanes fired Laviolette yesterday, brought back Paul Maurice to take over for him and moved Hall of Fame player and assistant general manager Ron Francis behind the bench as Maurice's associate coach.
"Paul's always on my mind. Everybody knows he's my good friend," Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford said. "Take friendship aside, I wouldn't do this if I didn't think him and Ron were the right two to try and make some changes."
Laviolette led the team to its only Stanley Cup title in 2006, and last month, he became the NHL's winningest American-born coach. But the Hurricanes had lost four of five games in the last 11/2 weeks. Carolina is 12-11-2 this season.
Maurice, 41, has a career record of 344-357-137 in 11 seasons with Carolina and Toronto. He coached the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup final in 2002 and won 268 games with the organization before his firing Dec. 15, 2003.
Laviolette, who also coached the New York Islanders, was 167-130-30 with Carolina.
His 244 career wins are five more than John Tortorella - who was fired during the off-season by Tampa Bay - as the most in league history by a U.S.-born coach.
Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic, 39, will be sidelined at least six weeks while receiving treatment for a herniated disk.
Avery, Bettman to meet.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has summoned Sean Avery to New York for a hearing today on remarks that resulted in the indefinite suspension of the Dallas Stars' instigator.
Bettman disciplined Avery on Tuesday for making "inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game." The punishment came down only hours after Avery used a crude term about his former girlfriends who are dating other hockey players.
Avery missed the Stars' game against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and their game in Edmonton last night.