Fall of Kasper, NHL Bruins Complete

From Associated Press

Steve Kasper was fired Friday as coach of the Boston Bruins after two years of what assistant general manager Mike O'Connell termed "disastrous results."

"[Kasper] did an all right job," O'Connell said. "The fact of the matter is, we didn't win, and a coach's mandate is to win. When you fall the way we have so quickly, something definitely was wrong."

The 35-year-old Kasper, who has a year left on his contract, was offered a position in the organization but declined. Assistant coach Cap Raeder also was fired.

Kasper was hired to replace Brian Sutter after the Bruins lost in the first round of the 1995 playoffs for the second time in three years. But Kasper's team outdid that, posting a 40-31-11 record before a first-round exit last season and then the worst record in the NHL this year, 26-47-9.

"I'm certainly willing to . . . take my share of the blame, if that's what it takes. But I would not be willing to . . . say that the only reason that team lost is because of Steve Kasper's coaching," Kasper said.

This season marked the end of a 29-year run of postseason appearances by Boston, longest in pro sports.

O'Connell confirmed that Boston University's Jack Parker is among the candidates to become the Bruins' 12th coach since their last Stanley Cup championship in 1972.

"I think the Boston Bruins are still a desirable franchise," O'Connell said. "I think there's a lot of people out there that would love to coach this hockey club."

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