Sharks Fire Sutter

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

The struggling San Jose Sharks cleaned house by firing coach Darryl Sutter and assistants Lorne Molleken and Rich Preston on Sunday.

Sutter lead the Sharks to their first division title in team history last season, but with a disappointing 8-12-2-2 start, general manager Dean Lombardi decided to replace Sutter.

"Darryl was an integral part of the growth of this team the past five seasons. This was not an easy decision to make," Lombardi said.

"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."

Doug Wilson, the Sharks' director of pro development, and scout Cap Raeder will coach the team until a new head coach is named.

"Darryl Sutter has made an important contribution to the success and improvement of the San Jose Sharks," team president Greg Jamison said. "Unfortunately, at this time, we determined that a change was necessary. There is still a lot of hockey to be played this season."

Sutter, the fifth coach in Sharks history, is the team's career leader in wins, winning percentage and games coached. He finished with a 192-182-60 mark and five straight playoff appearances since taking over in 1997.

But San Jose squandered a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals against Colorado and has not gotten past the second round in its 11-year history.

Sutter coached the Chicago Blackhawks for three seasons from 1992-95 and reached the playoffs each year. He also never missed the postseason during his eight seasons as an NHL player with the Blackhawks. He has a 302-262-86 record as a coach.

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