NHL·ROUNDUP

Sharks fire head coach Bob Boughner, assistants

The San Jose Sharks have fired coach Bob Boughner and his staff two months after the regular season ended.

Bruins hire Jim Montgomery as head coach to replace Bruce Cassidy

NHL coach Bob Boughner, standing, was informed Thursday night that he was being let go by the San Jose Sharks. The 51-year-old had one year remaining on his contract at $1.5 million US. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

The San Jose Sharks have fired coach Bob Boughner and his staff two months after the regular season ended.

The team confirmed the moves Friday, after reports surfaced Boughner and assistants John MacLean and John Madden were informed Thursday night they were being let go. Video coach Dan Darrow also was fired, and the Sharks said no replacements were immediately named.

The organization is still in the middle of a lengthy search for a general manager after Doug Wilson stepped down after nearly two decades on the job. Interim GM Joe Will made these moves.

Playoff drought

Boughner, 51, coached the Sharks for the past two and a half seasons after replacing Peter DeBoer in December 2019. They missed out on the playoffs each of the last three years following a run of 14 playoff appearances in 15 seasons, including a trip to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

"It has become apparent that the organization is in the process of an evolution," Will said in a statement. "The bottom line is we have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, which isn't acceptable to our owner, our organization, or to our fans. As part of this evolution and evaluation, we felt it was in the best interest of the club to allow the next Sharks general manager to have full autonomy related to the make-up of the on-ice coaching staff moving ahead."

Boughner had one year remaining on his contract at $1.5 million US. There is just one NHL head-coaching vacancy left in the league with the Winnipeg Jets.

"The past two-plus seasons have been extremely challenging — on and off the ice — and Bob and his staff worked admirably under some very difficult circumstances," Will said. "This change is not an indictment of their performance as much as it is a recognition of the complete organizational reset that we feel is in the best interest of the team at this point."

Boughner played almost 700 NHL regular-season and playoff games as a rough-and-tumble defenseman before moving into coaching. This was his second stint behind the bench with San Jose after spending two years as an assistant on DeBoer's staff from 2015-17 before taking over as coach of the Florida Panthers.

Bruins hire Montgomery as new head coach

The Boston Bruins have hired Jim Montgomery as their new coach, giving the hockey lifer another chance at an NHL head-coaching job less than three years since he lost his first one.

Recently extended general manager Don Sweeney announced the hire Friday, filling one of the league's final high-profile coaching vacancies hours after the San Jose Sharks created another by firing their staff. Montgomery replaces Bruce Cassidy, who was fired after the team's loss in the first round of the playoffs.

"Jim has a winning history, and throughout the interview process he conveyed his ability to connect with all types of players while also demanding that his teams play with structure," Sweeney said in a statement. "We are excited for Jim to begin to make his imprint on our team."

Montgomery, 53, spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the St. Louis Blues. He was fired from his first NHL head job by the Dallas Stars in December 2019 with the team citing unprofessional conduct.

In early 2020, Montgomery called that decision "appropriate" and a "wake-up call" while announcing he was going to a rehab facility for alcohol abuse.

When he was hired by the Blues, Montgomery said: "Sometimes it takes an unbearable consequence in your life to happen to have an unbelievable breakthrough, and that's the way I look at it. I'm just very thankful for what happened because now I'm a much better person every day and obviously a better husband, father and son."

Montgomery, who played parts of six NHL seasons, coached in the minors and college and won two United States Hockey League titles. He spent five years at the University of Denver before advancing to the NHL as one of the hottest up-and-coming coaches in the game.

The Stars reached the playoffs in 2019 under Montgomery, who was fired 32 games into the next season for what general manager Jim Nill said was behaviour inconsistent with "core values and beliefs of the Dallas Stars and the National Hockey League."

In his new job, Montgomery faces the challenge of an aging roster that will be without top left winger Brad Marchand and No. 1 defenceman Charlie McAvoy for at least the start of the season. Captain Patrice Bergeron is mulling a return to Boston on what could be a one-year deal.

Craig Berube, who coached against the Bruins in the 2019 final when the Blues won the Stanley Cup, said Montgomery "`was a great member of our staff and I appreciate his time and efforts with our players. This is well-deserved, and I wish him well with the Bruins."

St. Louis hired one-time Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish to replace Montgomery on Berube's staff.

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