Senators fire Clouston after missing playoffs

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OTTAWA (AP) - The Ottawa Senators fired head coach Cory Clouston and two assistants on Saturday after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Clouston and assistant coaches Greg Carvel and Brad Lauer were fired shortly after Ottawa lost 3-1 to the Bruins in its regular-season finale in Boston.

“Just simply based on performance over the course of the year, we felt that a change was necessary,” Senators general manager Bryan Murray said on the team’s website.

The 41-year-old Clouston, hired in February 2009, was 95-83-20 with the Senators and led them to the playoffs last season. Ottawa fell in six games to Pittsburgh in the first round and took a big step back this season, finishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 32-40-10 record.

The firings come one day after Murray received a three-year contract extension. Clouston is the third coach fired by Murray since he left the job himself to become GM after helping the Senators reach the Stanley Cup final in 2007.

“It’s always difficult,” said Murray. “Coaches get the finger pointed at them more maybe than they should, but in this case we felt … we had a competitive hockey team and for whatever reason we didn’t play to the level that we thought or we expected.

“As a result, changes have to be made.”

With the season going nowhere, Murray dealt away veterans Mike Fisher, Alex Kovalev, Chris Kelly, Chris Campoli and Jarkko Ruutu before the trade deadline.

Murray is scheduled to address the media Monday when the players return to Ottawa.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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