The Carolina Hurricanes have hired Kirk Muller as head coach to replace Paul Maurice, general manager Jim Rutherford announced today.
Kirk Muller, 45, was the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. He is former NHL player and assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.
Maurice was fired Monday morning, a day after the Canes' 4-3 loss to Ottawa.
"It's unfortunate," Rutherford said of the firing. "But we need to see if we can get back into it with a new coach, or if we need to change some players."
Rutherford called Muller a "proven leader and motivator" and praised his "strong communication skills."
The Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, played in Charlotte this past weekend against the Charlotte Checkers, the Canes' AHL affiliate. The Checkers won 3-2 and 5-1, with Rutherford in attendance.
Muller, 45, spent 19 seasons in the NHL, playing in more than 1,450 regular-season and playoff games. He helped the Montreal Canadiens win the 1993 Stanley Cup.
Muller later was an assistant coach for the Canadiens before being named the Admirals' head coach in June. In talking about his preferred style of play, Muller said he wanted a team that was strong defensively but also an aggressive forechecking team, with hardworking forwards.
In an interview with the CBC last year, while an assistant with the Canadiens, he talked about one strength as a coach: communicating with players.
"It's about energy, pushing guys, managing people and just getting them to buy into your X's and O's system," he told the CBC.
Maurice twice served as coach coach of the Canes and has an overall NHL record of 460-457-167. He coached 920 games for the Canes organization and was 384-391-145.
The Canes are 8-13-4 after a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.
Muller was the second overall pick of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, behind Mario Lemieux.