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N.Y. Rangers Fire Coach Ron Low

April 15, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Rangers fired coach Ron Low on Monday after missing the playoffs in his two seasons.

The Rangers had the highest payroll in the NHL but went only 36-38-4-3 this season and finished 11th in the Eastern Conference. It was the fifth straight year that they failed to reach the postseason.

``I feel a change is necessary at the head coaching position,″ Rangers general manager Glen Sather said. ``An extensive, thorough search for a new head coach will begin immediately.″

A conference call with Sather was planned for later Monday.

The Rangers led the conference standings in early December and were atop the Atlantic Division as late as Jan. 5. But the team went 3-11-1 from Dec. 31-Feb. 6, sinking its season.

The team’s payroll of about $70 million in base salaries was the highest in the NHL this season.

The roster featured such stars as goaltender Mike Richter, defenseman Brian Leetch and forward Eric Lindros. Sather added high-scoring forward Pavel Bure at the trading deadline, but the Rangers still fell short of the playoffs despite his flurry of goals with the team.

Low’s record in New York was 69-81-9-4. In seven NHL seasons, including five with the Edmonton Oilers, he’s 208-243-49-4.

Ken Hitchcock, who led the Dallas Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup title, has been mentioned as a possible replacement with the Rangers. The Stars fired him in January and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

Rangers captain Mark Messier has said he’s not interested in coaching the team.

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