Sharks dismiss Darryl Sutter
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SAN Jose - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Sunday that head coach Darryl Sutter and assistant coaches Rich Preston and Lorne Molleken have been relieved of > their coaching duties.
The defending Pacific Division champion Sharks, off to a disappointing 8-12-2-2 start to the 2002-03 season, currently sit in 13th place in the Western Conference standings.
Current professional scout Cap Reader and director of pro development Doug Wilson will assume coaching duties until a new head coach is named.
Sutter, named the fifth head coach in franchise history June 9, 1997, leaves the Sharks as the team's all-time coaching leader in games coached, wins and winning percentage. In five-plus seasons, the Viking, Alberta native posted a 192-182-60 regular season record (15 overtime losses where team receives one point in the standings) and a .512 winning percentage in 434 games with the Sharks.
At the conclusion of the 2001-02 season, Sutter became just the second coach in NHL history (joining Al Arbour of the N.Y. Islanders) to guide his team to five consecutive seasons of point improvement in the standings (2001-02, 99 points; 2000-01, 93 points; 1999-00, 87; 1998-99, 80; 1997-98, 78) while the Sharks improved for an NHL-record tying six seasons (streak started in 1996-97) during that span. In addition, Sutter led the Sharks to a team record five consecutive playoff berths.
"Darryl was an integral part of the growth of this team the past five seasons. This was not an easy decision to make," said Lombardi. "We felt strongly that this team should be playing better and was not performing at a level that we have come to expect. The degree to which we have struggled was a big factor in this decision."
Sutter, who earned his 300th NHL coaching victory Nov. 16 in a 7-3 victory at Florida (ranking him in 27th place on the all-time coaching win list), has posted a 302-262-86 (15 overtime losses) in 650 career games with San Jose and Chicago.
"Darryl Sutter has made an important contribution to the success and improvement of the San Jose Sharks," said Sharks President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Jamison. "I want to thank him for his level of commitment, his leadership, his desire to make our organization successful and his commitment to winning. Our entire organization wishes him well.
"Unfortunately, at this time, we determined that a change was necessary. There is still a lot of hockey to be played this season."
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