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Paul Maurice Fired By Carolina Hurricanes; Kirk Muller Rumored As Next Coach

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Paul Maurice's tenure as the Southeast Division's longest-tenured head coach didn't even make it to lunchtime. The Carolina Hurricanes announced Monday that they had fired Maurice, who was in the final year of his contract, and have a press conference planned for the early evening. It is rumored that Milwaukee Admirals head coach Kirk Muller, a one-time assistant with the Montreal Canadiens and veteran of more than 1,300 NHL games, will be named as his replacement.

Maurice's second tenure with the Hurricanes started with a bang. After replacing Peter Laviolette on Dec. 3, 2008, Maurice led Carolina to the Eastern Conference Finals, where the team was swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. But since that run, Maurice could not return the Hurricanes to the postseason. Carolina had a chance to make the playoffs on the final game of last season, but was blown out by Tampa Bay despite controlling their own destiny. The Hurricanes are 8-13-4 this season, good for 20 points and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

Muller played 19 seasons in the NHL with New Jersey, Montreal, the New York Islanders, Toronto, Florida and Dallas. He won the Stanley Cup in 1993 with the Canadiens and amassed 357 goals, 602 assists for 959 points in 1,349 games. He also had 69 points in 127 career playoff games, including 10 goals and 17 points in the Habs' 20-game run to the Cup. He was an assistant with Montreal from 2006 until the end of last season before taking the job with the Admirals, Nashville's AHL affiliate. Milwaukee is 10-6-1 on the season, having just lost back-to-back games to Charlotte, Carolina's top affiliate, over the weekend.

The release from the Hurricanes on Maurice's dismissal is after the jump.

HURRICANES RELIEVE PAUL MAURICE OF COACHING DUTIES

Team will announce a new head coach later today

RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has relieved Paul Maurice of his duties as head coach. The team will announce a new head coach later today.

Maurice completes his second stint with the Hurricanes with a career NHL coaching record of 460-457-167. He served 920 games behind the bench for the Hurricanes organization, going 384-391-145.