(Reuters) - The struggling Carolina Hurricanes fired coach Paul Maurice on Monday and named former National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star Kirk Muller as his replacement.
The decision to fire Maurice, who was in his second stint as coach of the Hurricanes, came after the team lost 11 of their last 15 games to fall into last place in the Southeast Division with a 8-13-4 record.
Muller, 45, was serving as coach of the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals after spending five seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.
"Kirk is a proven leader and motivator, and he has strong communication skills," Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement.
"He was a captain and a Stanley Cup winner as a player, and did excellent work as a coach with the Canadiens and the Admirals. We feel confident that he is the right man to lead our team now and in the future."
As a player, the six-time NHL All-Star totaled 357 goals and 602 assists over 19 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars. Muller retired in 2003.
Maurice has a career NHL coaching record of 460-457-167 and went 384-391-145 with the Hurricanes, who also fired him after a slow start to the 2003-04 season.
His firing was announced shortly after the Washington Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with former team captain Dale Hunter. [ID:nN1E7AR0QU] (Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)