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Monday, November 28, 2011

Hunter/Muller BOTH get NHL Jobs today

Two of the least popular NHLers of the 1990s, at least to Islander fans, apparently have both landed NHL jobs today.

Dale Hunter is the new coach of the Washington Caps, returning to the franchise that retired his number in 2000.  Hunter of course is best remembered by Islander fans for his attack on Pierre Turgeon in the 1993 playoffs.  Hunter is the only player in NHL history to record over 300 goals and over 3,000 penalty minutes. Hunter served as the President, head coach and part-owner of the London Knights (OHL); he led the Knights to a Memorial Cup in 2005.  He was John Tavares' final junior coach, coaching Tavares for the second half of the 2008-09 season after acquiring him in a trade.

Kirk Muller appears to be the new coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, according to Bob MacKenzie and others.  Muller played 27 mostly disinterested games for the Isles in 1995 and in 1995-96 after being acquired by Don Maloney (along with Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby) in a deal for Turgeon and Vlaidmir Malakhov.  After being sent home, Muller was eventually dealt to Toronto (by new GM Mike Milbury) in a three-way deal that brought Bryan Berard, Martin Straka and Ken Belanger to the Island while sending Wade Redden to Ottawa --neither Redden nor Berard had played in the NHL at that time.  (Straka was lost on waivers to Florida two months later, and played in the NHL for another dozen seasons.)

Muller was 10-6-0-1 in his first season as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) when the call came to replace Paul Maurice.  Conincidently (or perhaps not), the Admirals were in Charlotte this weekend for a series with the Checkers.

Hunter will visit the Coliseum on March 13th while Muller and the Canes will be here on January 21 and February 18.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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