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Bob Hartley is the first NHL head-coaching casualty of the season. ((Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images))

The Atlanta Thrashers have fired head coach Bob Hartley after the club lost its first six games of the NHL season.

General manager Don Waddell will take over coaching duties for the team on an interim basis.

Atlanta, the only winless team in the league, was shut out 4-0 in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. The Thrashers have been outscored 27-9 in their games.

"We felt after six games the direction we were going was not the direction we wanted to go," Waddell said at a news conference. "We couldn't let it go any further."

"I think if you look at great coaches in all sports, there are shelf lifes for coaches whether it's one, two or 10 years," Waddell added. "Some guys' message stops getting to players. I can't say 100 percent that's the reason, but certainly Bob has been here for a long time and was successful last year.

"We weren't getting the most out of, particularly, our veteran players. That's where our concerns were."

Assistant coach Brad McCrimmon ran the team's practice on Wednesday.

Waddell went 3-5-1 behind the bench in 2003 before he hired Hartley to succeed Curt Fraser, the franchise's first coach.

Hartleyfinishes his tenure in Atlanta with a137-118-13-24 record.

He guided the franchise to its first playoff berth last season, but the Thrashers were swept in the first round by the New York Rangers.

Atlanta has scored more than two goals in a game on just one occasion to start this season. Ilya Kovalchuk leads the club with just three goals and four points, with linemate Marian Hossa limited to three games due to injury.

Veterans Bobby Holik and Slava Kozlov have just two points each, whilegoaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Johan Hedberg haven't been able to steal games forthe Thrashers.

Hartley, 47, came to Atlanta after a successful term with the Colorado Avalanche.

Colorado won the Stanley Cup in 2001 and reached the Western Conference final on three other occasions under Hartley before he was fired after a disappointing startto the 2002-03 season.

Prior to his NHL experience,Hartley held coaching jobs in the AHL and Quebec juniors.