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|Bill Peters has not been able to lead the Carolina Hurricanes back to the NHL playoffs and after coming up short following his fourth season with the club , announced Friday that he is resigning.
”I feel like this is a good time to move on,” Peters said in a statement issued by the team, ”and I am looking forward to my next challenge.”
Peters went 137-138-53 in his lone head coaching job in the NHL. He had one season left on the contract extension he signed in 2016.
New team owner Tom Dundon said he has ”a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach.”
The move leaves the Hurricanes looking for a new general manager and head coach. Hall of Fame player Ron Francis was reassigned to another front-office position during the season.
”I feel the incoming general manager should have the ability to hire his own head coach,” said Peters, who was hired by Francis in 2014.
The 53-year-old Peters figures to be a candidate for other openings around the league – including a team in his home province.
The Calgary Flames fired Glen Gulutzan earlier this week after missing the playoffs in his second season. Peters is a native of Three Hills, Alberta, who played college hockey in that province at Red Deer College under coach Mike Babcock – who eventually hired him as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings.
Peters left the Red Wings’ staff four years ago to take his first NHL head coaching job with Carolina, but was unable to end the team’s playoff drought , which at nine years is one of the longest in NHL history.
The Hurricanes have made the postseason just once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, and just twice in 15 seasons. This will be their third coaching change since their last playoff appearance in 2009.
Expected to be a playoff team this season, Carolina finished 14 points out of a postseason spot and in sixth place in the eight-team Metropolitan Division.
There’s been plenty of change over the past four months for the Hurricanes, who will have turnover in three key spots on the organizational roster.
Longtime owner Peter Karmanos Jr. sold the majority interest in the team to Dundon in January, and the Dallas billionaire shook things up when he reassigned Francis to the role of president of hockey operations. The new GM will report directly to Dundon.
Peters’ frustration became evident following a critical 3-1 loss to San Jose in February that cost them a chance to move into playoff position. After that game, Peters called his team out, repeatedly using the word ”disappointing” while promising lineup changes that ultimately never came.
More NHL hockey: While Evander Kane watched Stanley Cup playoff hockey from his couch during the first eight years of his NHL career, the power forward felt confident he could thrive in the pressurized atmosphere of the postseason if he could only get the chance.
When his long-delayed opportunity finally arrived Thursday night , Kane did everything he ever thought he could.
Kane scored two goals in his first career playoff game and Martin Jones made 25 saves as the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 in their first-round series opener.
The game was a remarkable breakthrough for Kane, who joined the Sharks in a trade six weeks ago and reached the NHL postseason for the first time after 574 regular-season games and far too many early summers in Atlanta, Winnipeg and Buffalo.
Now 26 years old and tired of waiting, Kane has played ferociously since he landed in San Jose, contributing 14 points in 17 games down the stretch before his playoff outburst.
”It was nice to finally get out in the playoff atmosphere, and it was fun to finally get my first playoff win,” Kane said. ”It’s nice to contribute. That’s my job. I feel confident in my abilities. I don’t think it was my best game, but I’m never going to be mad when we get a playoff win and I get to contribute.”
Game 2 is Saturday night at Honda Center.
After a scoreless first period , Kane capitalized when two Anaheim penalties in 15 seconds left the Sharks with a two-man advantage. No Ducks were anywhere near Kane when he settled in the slot and scored on a one-timer from captain Joe Pavelski.
Kane did it again with Pavelski’s help less than seven minutes later, sliding the puck past goalie John Gibson on a 2-on-1 break and crashing headfirst into the post immediately afterward. The rout was on 84 seconds later when Brent Burns slipped a long shot through traffic for his 13th career playoff goal.
”(Kane) is a world-class player,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. ”I think Buffalo was a tough situation for everybody, and when he got the opportunity to get into our room and play with Burns and Pavelski, he was re-energized. That’s what you’re seeing: A guy who got his passion back and came to the rink excited.”
According to the NHL, Kane became the fourth player in the last 20 years to score multiple goals in his playoff debut, joining Alexander Radulov (2007), Mike Green (2008) and Gabriel Bourque (2012).
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With Kane leading the way , the Sharks easily took early control in the series between California rivals. San Jose and Anaheim have been regular playoff teams for the past 15 years, yet are meeting in the postseason for only the second time.
Gibson stopped 30 shots for the Ducks, who lost a series opener at home in their third consecutive playoff series. Anaheim had won seven straight home games down the stretch, losing in regulation at home just once in 17 games since late January.
”You can’t afford to take seven minor (penalties) and give the opposition an opportunity to practice their power play,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. ”It takes any momentum that you had building in the game. It flips everything in their favor.”
Jones capably handled the Ducks’ infrequent scoring opportunities to earn his fifth career playoff shutout. Anaheim fans threw scattered boos at their team during the third period, particularly when the Ducks struggled to get the puck up the ice.
The Ducks promptly gave away the home-ice advantage they had claimed with a frantic late-season rally past San Jose into second place in the Pacific Division. Anaheim won its final five regular-season games to finish with 101 points, while the Sharks lost five of their last six and ended up with 100.
”I can count probably on one hand how many good shifts that we had the whole game,” Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. ”We have to be a lot better than that.”
At least slow playoff starts are typical for these Ducks , who have lost Game 1 at home in four of their last five playoff series over the past three seasons. Anaheim still has appeared in two of the past three Western Conference finals.
San Jose and Anaheim haven’t faced off in the postseason since 2009, when the eighth-seeded Ducks stunned the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Sharks in six games in the first round. Three players on each roster are still around for the rematch, including captains Ryan Getzlaf and Pavelski.
NOTES: Cam Fowler missed the opener with an upper-body injury, and the Ducks’ top defenseman doesn’t appear to be close to returning. The club has said Fowler’s injury could keep him out for several more weeks. … Sharks C Joe Thornton skated in pregame warmups, but didn’t play in what would have been his first game since Jan. 25. The 38-year-old veteran has a right knee injury, but hopes to return soon. … Ducks D Kevin Bieksa also didn’t play, but is likely available after missing the last month due to surgery on his left hand.