The New Jersey Devils hired Larry Robinson as their new head coach on Thursday.

The announcement comes after Pat Burns revealed last week that he would not be behind the bench for the Devils next season after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time in just over a year.

The 53-year-old Burns had surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer following the 2003-04 season and was declared cancer-free earlier this year, but renewed treatment last week.

"Certainly [Robinson] knows our younger players as well as anybody because we had him working in Albany (AHL) and also our veterans," general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "Both groups have tremendous respect for him."

Robinson, who had been working as a "special assignment coach" for the Devils, received offers from other clubs, but said he wanted to stay with New Jersey.

"Because New Jersey gave me my start (as an assistant coach in 1993-94)," Robinson said Thursday. "I had a lot of success with New Jersey, I know the organization, I have a lot of confidence in Lou and what he's done for me and that's why this was the right combination."

Robinson, a former star defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens, is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

This is the second go-around for Robinson as the coach of the Devils.

He took over New Jersey in March 2000 and guided the club to the Stanley Cup. He led the club to the Stanley Cup final the following season before being fired in January 2002.

with files from Canadian Press