Avs Fire Hartley

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

Open season on NHL coaches continued Wednesday as the Colorado Avalanche fired head coach Bob Hartley less than two years after winning the Stanley Cup in 2001.

"We are an organization with very, very high expectations," Colorado general manager Pierre Lacroix said. "We've done it every year that we've been in Denver and it's no different this season. It was obvious that the team is not showing any emotion, the team is not doing what it needs to do to fulfill these expectations, so I am convinced it was the right time."

Assistant coach Tony Granato was named as the new head coach.

"I feel ready. I think I'll bring a lot of excitement and energy into this locker room," Granato said.

Granato, who retired in 2001 after 13 NHL seasons, becomes Colorado's third consecutive hire without any prior NHL head-coaching experience.

"Any time someone loses their job, it's tough on all of us, but when asked to step in the experience is no problem at all," Granato said. "I am very experienced. I have been in this game for a long time. I know what I can bring to the team. I am looking forward to the challenge."

Hartley, who was promoted from Hershey in 1998, is Colorado's wins leader at 193-109-48. He was 49-31 in the playoffs and was the first coach since Chicago's Billy Reay in 1967 to take his team to the conference finals his first four years.

"That's part of the business," Hartley said. "Everyone has different opinions and that's the way Pierre feels."

"We were in a situation, I thought, where the team was not performing at the level it should and I told Bob Hartley that he would no longer be part of the organization," Lacroix said.

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