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Thrashers fire Anderson after missing playoffs

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Atlanta Thrashers fired head coach John Anderson Wednesday after the team failed to make the playoffs for the third straight season.

The sacking was just part of a major front office shakeup for the Thrashers, with Don Waddell promoted to president and Rick Dudley assume his general manager duties.

"We have a lot of important pieces in place and I look forward to building this organization even further and working closely with Don, the owners and our staff toward achieving our goals," said Dudley on the Thrashers website (www.thrashers.nhl.com). "I've been in this situation before and we will accomplish our objectives."

Since entering the league in 1999 the Thrashers have qualified for the playoffs just once and struggled to fill seats.

This season the Thrashers traded away their top player Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils and finished 10th in the Eastern conference with a record of 35-34-13, five points behind the Montreal Canadiens in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Anderson becomes the second head coach to lose his job since the NHL regular season ended Sunday following Rick Tocchet, who was sacked by the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday.

In two seasons in charge Anderson posted a record of 70-75-19.

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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