Former Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien was hired yesterday as coach of the New Jersey Devils, who were forced to play much of last season with their general manager behind the bench.
``The assets he possesses are going to compliment the players we have," Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said during a news conference.
Lamoriello replaced worn-out coach Larry Robinson in December with the Devils in danger of missing the playoffs.
Julien coached Montreal from January 2003 to January 2006, when he was fired. After getting off to a 12-3-1 start this season, the Canadiens won only seven of the next 25 games, and Julien was dismissed after a 2-1 loss in Colorado. He had a 72-62-10 record and helped Montreal reach the second round of the playoffs in 2004.
Julien said Lamoriello's approach, experience and philosophy are similar to his.
``It was easy for me to feel comfortable here," Julien said. ``No doubt he's left some big shoes behind that bench for me to fill."
Julien's hire marks the third time the Devils have tapped a former Montreal coach. Both Jacques Lemaire and Pat Burns had coached the Canadiens before coming to New Jersey; Robinson was a star player with Montreal in the 1970s and '80s.
Ron Hextall, an All-Star goaltender and MVP of the 1987 Stanley Cup finals, has severed his long association with the Philadelphia Flyers to become assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Kings.
Hextall also will serve as GM of the AHL's Manchester Monarchs, the Kings' primary minor league affiliate.
He was hired by new Kings GM Dean Lombardi, with whom he worked in Philadelphia the last few years.
In yesterday's Toronto Globe and Mail, former Bruins GM Mike O'Connell was mentioned as possibly being included in Lombardi's new management team, as overseeing amateur scouting.
Hextall, 42, spent the last four years as director of pro hockey personnel for the Flyers. He joined their front office in 1999 as a pro scout and was promoted to his most recent position in 2002.
Hextall played 13 seasons in the NHL with Philadelphia, the New York Islanders and Quebec Nordiques.