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NHL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 5, 2001

Islanders fire coach after shutout loss to Lightning

NEW YORK -- Holding the worst record in the NHL and coming off a 6-0 loss to the Lightning, which has the second-worst record, the Islanders fired coach Butch Goring.

He was replaced by assistant and former teammate Lorne Henning, who coached the Isles during the lockout of 1994-95.

"Butch is a good friend, good person and a good coach," Henning said Sunday. "He's an Islander. It's a sad time, but you have to move forward. I have Islander blood. We have to right the ship and get things going."

Goring was fired by general manager Mike Milbury in a morning meeting at Nassau Coliseum. Henning said he spoke briefly to Goring and said he was "shook up."

The Islanders (17-40-5-3) are last in the Atlantic Division and have a league-low 42 points. That's one fewer than Tampa Bay, which routed New York 6-0 Saturday.

Henning will be behind the bench tonight at the New York Rangers.

Henning takes over a team that is rebuilding and has lost four straight. The Isles, once a symbol of excellence in the NHL, have not made the playoffs since the 1993-94 season.

Goring was 41-89-14-4 with New York since taking the job at the start of the 1999-00 season, when he inherited the youngest team in the league.

WILD-DEVILS TRADE: Minnesota acquired defenseman Willie Mitchell and future considerations from New Jersey for defenseman Sean O'Donnell.

COYOTES: General manager Cliff Fletcher says none of the deals the team is expected to make before the March 13 trading deadline are written in stone. "There's been a lot speculation that there's going to be a trade, but we're not going to trade a great player just to trade," Fletcher said. He stressed that Keith Tkachuk, whose salary is $8.3-million, would not be dealt simply to save money.

PANTHERS: Defenseman Brad Ference was sent to Louisville of the AHL.

STARS: Joe Nieuwendyk, the team's second-leading goal-scorer, might miss the remainder of the regular season because of a groin injury.

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