NHL: Lightning fire Tocchet, Lawton after poor season
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning have fired coach Rick Tocchet and general manager Brian Lawton after missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
Team owner Jeff Vinik made the announcement today.
The search for a new GM will begin immediately, and Lawton's replacement will hire the coach.
Vinik said in a statement that Tampa Bay's hockey operations department "needs a fresh start in order to help us fulfill our goal of being a world-class organization."
Tocchet became interim coach 16 games into the 2008-09 season and was given the head coach position in May 2009. Lawton assumed the general manager post on Oct. 22, 2008.
Since winning the 2004 Stanley Cup championship, Tampa Bay has not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.