NHL notebook

Stars don’t delay

They show coach Crawford the door

Associated Press / April 13, 2011

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This season, Marc Crawford guided the Dallas Stars to the most points of any team in NHL history that didn’t make the playoffs.

It wasn’t enough to keep his job.

Crawford was fired yesterday after just two seasons in charge. Although Dallas’s playoff bid went to the final minutes of the regular season, general manager Joe Nieuwendyk seemed to have already decided his club needed a different coach to become a contender for the Stanley Cup.

The Stars would’ve been in the playoffs had they won the season finale at Minnesota Sunday. A loss by Chicago earlier in the day left it up to Dallas to determine whether it made it or not. The Stars were ahead, 2-1, against a non-playoff team but lost, 5-3.

The Stars finished with 95 points, matching the 2006-07 Avalanche for the most of any non-playoff team.

Crawford won the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996, but he’s missed the postseason in his last five seasons — two in Dallas, two in Los Angeles, and one in Vancouver. His teams have won a single playoff series in his last 11 years in charge.

Capuano stays on Jack Capuano was rewarded by the Islanders, who removed the interim tag from their coach after he led a second-half improvement in an otherwise disappointing season.

New York (30-39-13) finished last in the Atlantic Division for the fourth straight season and was 14th in the 15-team Eastern Conference. But under Capuano, who took over for the fired Scott Gordon Nov. 15, the Islanders went 26-29-10, including a 25-21-8 mark over the final 54 games.

General manager Garth Snow declined to reveal the length or financial terms of Capuano’s contract.

Capuano was a defenseman at the University of Maine and played in the NHL from 1988-92 with the Maple Leafs, Canucks, and Bruins.

Zetterberg out The Red Wings’ leading scorer, Henrik Zetterberg, said he’s out for at least Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series against the visiting Coyotes tonight. Zetterberg was injured last Wednesday when he was checked in a 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes . . . Michal Neuvirth confirmed he will be in net when the top-seeded Capitals host the eighth-seeded Rangers tonight in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference series. “It’s a big challenge,’’ said the 23-year-old Czech, who will be making his NHL postseason debut. “But I think I can handle it.’’ Neuvirth beat out Semyon Varlamov for the job, hardly a surprise after a regular season in which Neuvirth posted 27 wins to Varlamov’s 11.

Williams close Winger Justin Williams, second on the Kings in scoring, went through another practice with a harness on his dislocated right shoulder, and will make the final call on whether he suits up for tomorrow’s playoff opener against the Sharks . . . Defenseman Chris Pronger, sidelined by a hand injury since March 8, said he was confident he’d suit up in the Flyers’ series against the Sabres, but wouldn’t say whether he’d be ready for Game 1 tomorrow night . . . Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming was back at practice less than a week after surgery to remove a brain tumor. Fleming watched practice from the stands. The team said his involvement in the postseason will be based on his level of comfort. Tampa Bay will be making its first postseason appearance since 2007 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal tonight at Pittsburgh . . . Acting Flames GM Jay Feaster said captain Jarome Iginla will not be traded, thus returning for a 15th straight season with the team.

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