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Tampa Bay Lightning fire head coach and general manager

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Lightning fired their head coach and general manager on Monday after the team missed the playoffs for a third straight season.

A day after the team closed the regular season with their third straight victory, Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet and general manager Brian Lawton were sacked.

"I believe that the hockey side of the TBL organization needs a fresh start in order to help us fulfill our goal of being a world-class organization," Lightning Chairman Jeff Vinik said on the team's website (http://lightning.nhl.com/).

Tocchet, who spent the bulk of his 18-season playing career with the Philadelphia Flyers, was named Tampa Bay's interim coach early in the 2008-09 season. Lawton was named general manager in October 2008.

Tampa Bay finished the regular season with a 34-36-12 record and were eight points off the final playoffs spot in the National Hockey League's Eastern Conference.

(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)