While Bruce Boudreau’s termination may have come as a surprise to some, Paul Maurice’s didn’t fool anybody.
After a disappointing 8-13-4 start to this season, Maurice was fired by the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. However, despite his early dismissal, there’s plenty of blame to go around on the team for their lackluster start. Captain Eric Staal has just five goals, six assists and a League-worst minus-17 rating in 25 games; franchise netminder Cam Ward is 8-10-3 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .905 save percentage; and defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who was signed to a three-year, $12.75 million contract by GM Jim Rutherford during the summer, has just five assists and is a minus-10 on the year.
Former Montreal Canadiens assistant coach and player Kirk Muller has been hired on as the new head coach for the ‘Canes. Muller took somewhat of a circuitous route to land his first gig as an NHL head coach. After five seasons on the Canadiens’ bench, Muller decided to take a head coaching job with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. However, after a short 17-game apprenticeship in the minors, he’s excited to be back in the big leagues.
“It’s been five years and, like a player, you always want the ball,” Muller said. “You want to be out there in the last minute. I’ve been on a stage where I’ve had a great five years of experience. I want to go out and get my own club and be a head coach. I’m going from the NHL down to the AHL. It’s a new challenge in a different direction. I’m super excited about it.”
This was actually Maurice’s second stint as bench boss for the ‘Canes. The last time he was fired, the ‘Canes won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history the very next season.