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Scott Stevens resigns as Wild assistant coach

Spent one season with Minnesota, leaving for family reasons @NHLdotcom

Minnesota Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens resigned Tuesday, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

"I just want to be close to them," Stevens told the Wild website. "That's the toughest part of the job, moving away from your house and being away from your family. I need them, and that's what it comes down to.

"When you've been in one spot for a long time and you raise your kids ... it's a little tougher than you think. I had nothing but a great experience in Minnesota. I met a lot of people and [have] a lot of new friends that I'll keep forever."

The 53-year-old relocated from New Jersey, away from his wife Donna, and two of his children, who live in New York City, to work an assistant under coach Bruce Boudreau this season.

The Wild went 49-25-8 to set their single-season records for wins and points (106). Stevens' primary focus was on the defense and the penalty kill. Minnesota finished seventh in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.51) and eighth in penalty killing (82.9 percent).

The Wild were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round in five games.

"We thank Scott for the hard work and dedication he provided our team this past season," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "We respect his decision to spend more time with his family and wish him the best in his future endeavors." 

It wasn't easy for Stevens to tell Boudreau he wouldn't be back.

"It was very difficult," Stevens said. "The hockey part is kind of the easy part; that's what you know, that's what you love. It's the other parts that are tough. I had a wonderful experience; I learned a lot from Bruce. The coaching staff was outstanding; we got along great. I will miss that part, but I will be cheering for the Wild and I will be staying in touch with Bruce."

Wild defensemen Jared Spurgeon, 27, Matt Dumba, 22, and Jonas Brodin, 23, each set an NHL career high in points under Stevens. Spurgeon had 38 (10 goals, 28 assists), Dumba had 34 (11 goals, 23 assists), and Brodin had 25 (three goals, 22 assists).

"I had a lot of fun working with the players. It was one of the draws in coming to Minnesota," Stevens said. "They are a great group of guys, very responsive and they're quite young yet. It takes a while for [defensemen], and I think they made progress. I think there is a lot more [to come] for some of these younger defensemen moving forward."

Stevens, who played 22 seasons as a defenseman in the NHL, including 13 with New Jersey, helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup three times and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

"You can see why he's a Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup champion," Boudreau told the Star-Tribune. "I learned so much about what it takes to be a champion just by watching him work. All of those little things, it's going to be hard to replace." 

He was named co-coach of the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 27, 2014, after he was an assistant from 2012-14.

"At this point, I'm just gonna take a step back. I really have no plans," Stevens said. "I just want to get back home and get settled and we'll see where it goes."

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