Bob Pulford will be replaced as head coach of the Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) _ Bob Pulford will be replaced as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks after the team failed to survive the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs, but he will still be general manager next year, says team owner William Wirtz.
Pulford, who first came to Chicago in 1977 and has been both coach and general manager since 1985, will ″definitely″ stay with the team, Wirtz said Monday, a day after the Blackhawks were swept out of the NHL playoffs by Detroit.
There is no leading contender to replace Pulford as coach, Wirtz said.
″We’ll look at the whole field, but the situation seems to dictate bringing someone in fresh, new,″ he said.
Chicago went 29-37-14 in regular-season play before losing the first four playoff games to the Red Wings in a best-of-seven series.
Wirtz indicated that player changes also would be made.
″I think there are a lot of players I was disappointed with,″ Wirtz said. ″I don’t want to pinpoint, but when they’re traded they’ll know who they are.″
Pulford compiled a 158-155-62 record as coach during the past six seasons. Next year will be his 11th as general manager.
This year’s co-coach, Roger Neilson, will not be named head coach, Wirtz said. Bob Berry, fired Monday as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, also should not be considered a leading candidate, he said.
Blackhawks captain Darryl Sutter, who helped with coaching during some games this year, also is not likely to succeed Pulford because he needs more seasoning, said Wirtz.
″I think he’s a fine prospect for the future,″ Wirtz said. ″I think he will be a fine NHL coach. I think an awful lot of Darryl. He’s got pride.″
A new starting goaltender also is being sought, Wirtz said, though he did not say if he plans to trade Murray Bannerman, who has played behind starter Bob Sauve.
Pulford began his coaching career with the Los Angeles Kings, where he coached for five seasons before joining the Blackhawks. He was named the NHL’s coach of the year for his 1974-75 season with the Kings.