Blue Jackets Fire King

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

The Columbus Blue Jackets fired their first coach Dave King and named general manager Doug McLean as interim coach for the rest of the season.

"This was an extremely difficult decision to make because Dave King is a tremendous person who has worked extremely hard for the Blue Jackets organization over the past three years," said MacLean.

At 14-20-4-2, the Blue Jackets have the second-worst record in the Western Conference, just a point ahead of Nashville.

"Dave was certainly preaching the right things. There just wasn't a consistent performance," said MacLean, also the team's president. "I was extremely patient the last 2 years."

King was fired one day after blasting his team for its lack of intensity following a 5-1 loss to Nashville on Monday. He leaves with a 64-106-21-13 record as the franchise's only head coach.

"I was frustrated by the inconsistencies, good stretches, bad stretches and tremendous letdowns at times," MacLean said after leading practice Tuesday.

Players took the blame for the decision to dismiss King, who was in the final year of a three-year contract.

"He taught us everything. We just didn't get the job done for him," forward Jody Shelley said. "It's a business, and we've got to win to keep people's jobs."

"It's a shame the coach has to take the penalty for our mistakes," said Rick Nash, the top pick in this year's draft.

After going 7-5-1-1 for the franchise's best-ever start, the Blue Jackets went 7-15-3-1 since Nov. 12.

"Behind the bench, sometimes you just look down and say, 'Gee, I wish we had another player or two who could make a difference,'" King said.


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