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Source: Laviolette fired as Hurricanes coach

NHL.com @NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -The Carolina Hurricanes fired coach Peter Laviolette on Wednesday, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The team scheduled a news conference Wednesday to announce a coaching change, and the person familiar with the decision told the AP that the announcement was Laviolette's dismissal. The person requested anonymity because the official announcement had not yet been made.

Laviolette in 2005-06 led the team to its only Stanley Cup, and last month he became the winningest American-born coach in NHL history.

But the Hurricanes - the only team in the league's modern history to miss the playoffs two straight years after winning it all - lost four of five during the past 1 1/2 weeks to prompt the move.

General manager Jim Rutherford did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

Laviolette, who coached the New York Islanders for two seasons, was 167-130-30 in his fifth season with Carolina. He had 2 1/2 years left on the five-year contract he signed in June 2006 shortly after winning the Cup.

His 244 career wins are five more than former Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella as the most by an American-born coach in league history.

But his job security came into question late last season when the team wrapped up a second consecutive campaign without making the playoffs, a lull blamed on a slow start. After meeting with owner Peter Karmanos Jr. and Rutherford, Laviolette was retained with a mandate to deliver wins more consistently.

The Hurricanes entered Wednesday 12-11-2 and trailing Southeast Division-leading Washington by three points. They lost nine of 16 games in November, including a dismal mid-month stretch in which they were outscored by a combined 10-3 in consecutive home games against division opponents Atlanta and Washington.

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