Three days after the Boston Bruins were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, coach Brian Sutter was fired. General manager Harry Sinden said there was no connection.
The team “needs a total change of philosophy,” Sinden said. “The playoff performance I lay squarely on a certain group of players and that’s where it remains.”
The intense Sutter, however, was the first to go after a three-year tenure as coach in which the Bruins were eliminated twice in the first round and once in the second.
Sinden said Steve Kasper, coach of the Bruins’ minor-league team in Providence, and Bruins assistant Tom McVie, a former head coach with Washington, Winnipeg and New Jersey, were candidates for the vacancy.
The timing of the firing was unrelated to the Boston Celtics announcement about 2 hours earlier that they had fired Chris Ford after five years as coach, Sinden said.
Sutter, 39, was not available for comment but planned to speak today.
The Bruins were 27-18-3 this season and seeded fourth in the eight-team Eastern Conference playoffs. But they were beaten in five games by fifth-seeded New Jersey, which shut them out three times.
Sunday’s 3-2 loss, the Bruins last meaningful game at Boston Garden before they move into the new FleetCenter, ended their season. The next night, Sutter watched on television as Vancouver played St. Louis, which had fired him after four seasons as coach. Boston signed him for the next season.
“Watching the game last night, you’re crying inside,” he said Tuesday. “You’re talking to a coach that’s driven by winning the last game of the year.
“You can’t describe how it feels until you go through it. It’s an empty feeling. The more you care. The deeper it goes.”
Toe Blake, 82, the dour-faced disciplinarian whose eight Stanley Cup championships in 13 seasons as coach of the Montreal Canadiens is an NHL record, died in Montreal.
Blake succumbed after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Blake was a star with the Canadiens long before he coached the team. His 13-year career, spent largely as a left winger on the famed Punch Line with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach, produced 527 points, including 235 goals.
Blake described the 1959-60 team, which swept its playoff series in the minimum eight games, as the finest ever assembled.
The lineup included future Hall of Famers Beliveau, Richard, Dickie Moore, Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Doug Harvey and Jacques Plante.
The Winnipeg city council voted 13-3 to back a local bid to keep the ailing Winnipeg Jets from leaving for Minnesota or another American state.
The vote means the city is willing to invest its $37 million share of the $111 million tab for a new arena.
A day after the Quebec Nordiques were eliminated from the NHL playoffs, only 250 fans turned out for a rally to keep the team from leaving.
The fans marched to the Quebec legislature, most of them convinced their team is on the verge of leaving for Denver or another large U.S. city.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.