To nobody’s surprise, Paul Maurice got the short haircut again in Carolina. The Hurricanes became moribund this season on his watch, falling to 8-13-4 and 14th place in the Eastern Conference.
So his second stint as the team’s head coach ended as the first one did, in disappointment. After pondering his options for several days, general manager Jim Rutherford finally offered Maurice’s job to Milwaukee Admirals coach Kirk Muller.
Muller, an elite two-way center during his NHL playing career, will work with the holdover assistant coaches, Dave Lewis, Rod Brind ‘Amour and Tom Barrasso. They have a lot of work to do to bring a stale squad back to life.
Here are some of Rutherford’s thoughts from the introductory news conference:
“I've talked to Kirk for 7-10 days. After going through that process of all the possibilities, clearly Kirk was our No. 1 choice.”
“We may win our first game or first three games, but what I'm really looking for are new ideas. What I also will look for is a consistent work ethic.”
“We have to get that consistent work ethic. It will take some time to get (Muller's) ideas and system in place. Then, we can get the confidence back and hopefully then the wins will come.”
Well, we’ll see.
More changes are likely in Carolina. Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer that he remains in active pursuit of help at forward. Stay tuned.