Bruins fire head coach Sullivan

Mike Sullivan was dismissed Tuesday as Boston Bruins head coach following a last-place finish in the NHL Northeast Division.

Peter Chiarelli's first move as incoming general manager of the Boston Bruins proved to be a doozy.

Chiarelli confirmed Tuesday that Mike Sullivan was dismissed as head coach following a last-place finish in the NHL Northeast Division.

No replacement was named by Chiarelli, but it's believed former Detroit Red Wings coach Dave Lewis will be announced as Sullivan's successor as early as Wednesday, according to the Boston Globe.

Chiarelli was signed by Boston to a four-year contract on May 26, but committed to doing double duty as Bruins GM and Ottawa Senators assistant GM until July 15.

"Peter had not met Mike prior to coming to Boston," Bruins assistant GM Jeff Gorton noted, "And he felt that it was incumbent upon him to get to know Mike before making a decision on the coaching situation."

"Mike went to Ottawa [to meet with Chiarelli] a couple of weeks ago, and they had a good discussion about the game and how it needed to be played in order to have success.

"Peter advised Mike that he would be talking to other candidates. He went through that process and his decision was that, at this time, we are better served to have a clean slate."

Sullivan, 37, succeeded Mike O'Connell as head coach on June 23, 2003, and led the Bruins to an impressive 41-19-15-7 record.

Boston posted a meagre 29-37-16 mark this season, and that, coupled with the O'Connell's departure and Chiarelli's subsequent arrival, spelled certain doom for Sullivan.

"It's a necessary part of the business," he said. "And the reality is, when you don't have success, change is inevitable."

Played, coached in Boston

Sullivan was a former NHL forward drafted out of Boston University in the fourth round (69th overall) by the New York Rangers in 1987.

Although he never played for the Rangers, he totalled 54 goals and 82 assists for 136 points in 709 games over 11 NHL seasons for the San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes until retiring at the conclusion of the 2001-02 campaign.

Sullivan was hired as head coach of the AHL Providence Bruins on July 29, 2002, and guided them to a 41-17-9-4 record through March 20, 2003.

That's when he was promoted to Boston, where he went 3-3-3-0 over the final nine games of the 2002-03 NHL season.

With files from Associated Press