Bruins Ax Robbie Ftorek

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

The struggling Boston Bruins fired coach Robbie Ftorek Wednesday after a downward spiral that saw the team fall from the top of the league to barely making the playoffs.

General manager Mike O'Connell replaces Ftorek on an interim basis.

The Bruins had the NHL's best record at 19-4-3-1 on Dec. 8, but slipped to 33-28-8-4 and into seventh place in the Eastern Conference after Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Phoenix.

"This change is being made at this time because of this team's record over our past 46 games and the fact that, fairly or unfairly, the coach is judged on the record," O'Connell said.

"This team's record over that span is 14-24-5-3 and I have not seen any indication that our direction is changing."

Ftorek was named Bruins coach in May 2001 and led the club to a 43-24-6-9 record and a first-place finish in the East last season. The Bruins, however, were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Montreal.

"We are looking now at the final nine games of the regular season, and my focus has to be on winning those games, clinching a playoff position and getting this team performing in a consistent enough manner to do some damage in the playoffs," O'Connell said.

Ftorek, in his second season as Boston's coach, was the Bruins' 10th coach in 18 years. The team also fired assistant coach Jim Hughes but kept assistant Wayne Cashman. Mike Sullivan, head coach of the Bruins' AHL affiliate in Providence, R.I., was promoted to assistant in Boston, and Scott Gordon was named Providence head coach.

Ftorek's first NHL head coaching job was with the Los Angeles Kings for the last 52 games in 1987-88 and the entire 1988-89 season.

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