Carolina fires coach Muller, two assistants

Kirk Muller. (Karl B DeBlaker/AP)

Ron Francis did not waste much time executing his new power.

The new general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes fired head coach Kirk Muller and assistant coaches John MacLean and Dave Lewis, the club announced Monday, one week after Francis took the reins from former GM Jim Rutherford.

The Hurricanes also reassigned goaltending coach Greg Stefan to the pro scouting department. Assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour will remain part of the coaching staff.

Watch Hurricanes GM Ron Francis addresses the firing

“We thank Kirk, John and Dave for their time and effort during the past three seasons,” Francis, who also serves as the team’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “Kirk and his staff worked very hard, but we feel that the team is in need of a fresh start at this time.”

Muller, 48, compiled a record of 80-80-27 during three seasons with Carolina after being named head coach on Nov. 28, 2011, when he took over for Paul Maurice.

Muller failed to lead his team to a post-season berth in three attempts. It was the Kingston, Ont., native’s first head coaching position in the NHL.

“It would be an open search at this point,” Francis said at Monday’s media address. “We’ll start with a few names on a list.

“I’ve already had some calls and emails today from people wanting to throw their name in the hat, so I think [position is] very attractive.”

Francis outlined the vision he had for who will become the new bench boss. Ideally, he said, the Canes will have someone in place by the 2014 NHL Draft, slated for June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia.

“The biggest thing I’m looking for is a guy that’s a teacher,” Francis said. “You have to be accountable as a player, and having someone in that position that holds them accountable wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

Carolina finished a disappointing 13th in the 16-team Eastern Conference this season with a 36-35-11 record.

The coaching changes mark the latest in a series of moves that has seen the Hurricanes also hire Mike Vellucci as assistant GM and director of hockey operations and promote Brian Tatum to assistant general manager.

Rutherford, who also owns part of the team, has remained in an advisory role as team president.

The Hurricanes join the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers in a search for a new bench boss.

(with files from AP)

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