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Vancouver Canucks fire Marc Crawford
After almost six years as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Marc Crawford was fired yesterday after the team grossly underperformed in the regular season, finishing out of the playoffs for the third time in Crawford's stint on the west coast. General Manager Dave Nonis made it pretty clear that this was just the first move in over-hauling the Canucks for next year. "This does not absolve the players of any responsibility," said Nonis. "It's not a situation where we have a new coach and everything is fine. That's not the case. We're going to make them fine."
Toronto Maple Leafs clean house
The Toronto Maple Leafs notoriously underachieved this year and finished their season out of the playoffs. In what is considered the toughest hockey market in the world, this has not gone over too well with the fans and media. Pat Quinn and his assistant Rick Ley became the first casualties as the Leafs fired the 19-year coaching veteran who still had one year remaining on his contract. Quinn led Toronto to a 41-33-8 record this season and finished out of the postseason for only the fourth season in his coaching career. Quinn went 300-222-52 with 26 shootout and overtime losses as the Leafs coach, twice leading Toronto to the Eastern Conference final with losses to Buffalo in 1998-99 and Carolina in 2001-02.
Playoff matchups all set
As of last night, the 2006 NHL playoff matchups are all set. As expected, there are several suprises of teams that did not make it to the postseason and those that did. Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks fall in the former while the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes in the latter. In the Eastern Conference, the Ottawa Senators are matched up against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sens have struggled since the Olympic break, without future hall-of-fame goalie Dominic Hasek but the defending Stanley Cup champs have also had their struggles in net. The Carolina Hurricanes have proven to be a dynamic team in the regular season and will go up against the hot goaltending in Montreal.