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Devils name ex-Canadiens coach Julien

Former Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien was hired yesterday as coach of the New Jersey Devils, who were forced to play much of last season with their general manager behind the bench.

``The assets he possesses are going to compliment the players we have," Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said during a news conference.

Lamoriello replaced worn-out coach Larry Robinson in December with the Devils in danger of missing the playoffs.

Julien coached Montreal from January 2003 to January 2006, when he was fired. After getting off to a 12-3-1 start this season, the Canadiens won only seven of the next 25 games, and Julien was dismissed after a 2-1 loss in Colorado. He had a 72-62-10 record and helped Montreal reach the second round of the playoffs in 2004.

Julien said Lamoriello's approach, experience and philosophy are similar to his.

``It was easy for me to feel comfortable here," Julien said. ``No doubt he's left some big shoes behind that bench for me to fill."

Julien's hire marks the third time the Devils have tapped a former Montreal coach. Both Jacques Lemaire and Pat Burns had coached the Canadiens before coming to New Jersey; Robinson was a star player with Montreal in the 1970s and '80s.

Hextall leaves for LA

Ron Hextall, an All-Star goaltender and MVP of the 1987 Stanley Cup finals, has severed his long association with the Philadelphia Flyers to become assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Kings.

Hextall also will serve as GM of the AHL's Manchester Monarchs, the Kings' primary minor league affiliate.

He was hired by new Kings GM Dean Lombardi, with whom he worked in Philadelphia the last few years.

In yesterday's Toronto Globe and Mail, former Bruins GM Mike O'Connell was mentioned as possibly being included in Lombardi's new management team, as overseeing amateur scouting.

Hextall, 42, spent the last four years as director of pro hockey personnel for the Flyers. He joined their front office in 1999 as a pro scout and was promoted to his most recent position in 2002.

Hextall played 13 seasons in the NHL with Philadelphia, the New York Islanders and Quebec Nordiques.

Holes in doping policy
The NHL is trying to fool the public with a flawed anti-doping program, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping agency said. Dick Pound said league statements Monday that there were no positive tests among 1,406 administered during the season were meaningless given the loopholes in its anti-doping program. He said the NHL does not test for stimulants and other banned substances and does not test at times when players are likely to be caught, such as during offseason training. Pound did not back off a statement he made in November that up to a one-third of NHL players may be using performance-enhancing drugs ``if you include the full range of drugs, most of which they don't test for." The league said each of the league's roughly 700 players was tested up to two times between Jan. 15 and the end of the regular season . . . The Mighty Ducks re-signed leading scorer Teemu Selanne to a one-year deal , keeping the right winger who helped them make a surprising run to the Western Conference finals. Selanne had 40 goals and 50 assists in 80 games this season. Terms were not disclosed, although it was expected he would receive a sizable raise from the $1 million he earned this season . . . Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis will have surgery tomorrow to repair a torn muscle in his side. Kasparaitis will be sidelined for about five weeks after the surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, the Rangers said in a statement.

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