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Panthers hire former Jets head coach Paul Maurice to replace Brunette


Paul Maurice is the new coach of the Florida Panthers. He agreed to a deal Wednesday to take over a club that had just finished a season in which it had the NHL’s best record and rewrote the franchise’s record books.

Maurice, 55, will be introduced Thursday morning, the Panthers announced.

Maurice will replace interim Panthers coach Andrew Brunette, who could stay with the organization if he chooses to do so.

Brunette took over at the start of last season following the resignation of Joel Quenneville, who had to step down after it was revealed how Chicago mishandled a player’s abuse allegations during the playoffs. of the 2010 Stanley Cup. Quenneville coached Chicago during this time.

TSN first reported that the Panthers and Maurice were finalizing a deal.

Panthers general manager Bill Zito, in a statement released by the team, said the hiring of Maurice came after “a thorough review of all aspects of our team”.

“After taking the necessary time for analysis, we determined that we needed the perfect solution to continue growing our players and staying on track with our franchise goals,” Zito said. “Paul’s experience and intelligence were exactly what we were looking for and we are delighted to have him take on the role of head coach.”

The Panthers will become the fourth franchise that Maurice coaches. He started in Hartford in 1995, two seasons before that franchise moved to Carolina. He coached Toronto for two seasons before returning to Carolina, then spent nearly nine years coaching in Winnipeg before leaving there in December.

“I pushed as long and as hard as I could here. I love these guys. They need a new voice, and I know that,” Maurice said when he left Winnipeg.

Now six months away from that decision, Maurice is also making a fresh start with a team that believes it is a Stanley Cup contender.

WATCH | Maurice on his decision to resign:

‘Now is the right time for this and I know it’: Jets coach Paul Maurice quits

Paul Maurice leaves the Winnipeg Jets. He has just resigned as head coach, a position he has held since 2014. The Jets have struggled this season and Maurice says he is considering leaving. He says going to the rink was becoming a chore and he thinks the team deserves better.

Florida won the Presidents’ Trophy this season and reached the second round of the playoffs, winning a playoff series for the first time since 1996. Brunette was a finalist for Coach of the Year in his first stint as coach leader at the NHL level, finishing as a finalist behind Calgary’s Darryl Sutter for the Jack Adams Award.

That wasn’t enough to secure him the long-term job, nor was the support of Panthers players, including captain Aleksander Barkov, among others.

Instead, the Panthers are looking to Maurice – who is fourth on the NHL’s all-game coaches list with 1,684, seventh on the all-time wins list with 775, but has never led a Stanley Cup team. He took Carolina to the title series in 2002, but the Hurricanes lost in five games to the Detroit Red Wings.

Florida, for the past three seasons combined, has ranked second in the NHL in wins (130) and points per game (1.35) — behind only Colorado on those two lists. The Avalanche have 137 wins and an average of 1.41 ranking points per game over that span.

The Panthers also set team records this season in many categories, including wins (58) and goals (340). Jonathan Huberdeau became the first Panthers player with a 100-point season, the team went 34-7-0 at home, started the year with eight straight wins and added a 13-game winning streak later in the game. the season.

Florida ended up being swept by Tampa Bay in the second round, and a month later Maurice has now been brought on board to see where he can take the Panthers next season and beyond.


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