Thursday, July 14, 2005

Robinson back with Devils

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CP) -- The New Jersey Devils will have a familiar face behind this season after naming Larry Robinson their new head coach Thursday.
Robinson led New Jersey to the Stanley Cup in 2000 then took the team back to the final in 2001. He was fired as head coach in January of the following season.Robinson, a Hall of Fame defenceman who had been working as a "special assignment coach" for the Devils, would have coached the team had there been a season, general manager Lou Lamoriello said Thursday."Certainly he knows our younger players as well as anybody because we had him working in Albany (AHL) and also our veterans," Lamoriello said. "Both groups have tremendous respect for him."Other teams had come calling over the last few years but Robinson wanted to stay with the Devils."Because New Jersey gave me my start (as an assistant coach in 1993-94)," Robinson said Thursday. "I had a lot of success with New Jersey, I know the organization, I have a lot of confidence in Lou and what he's done for me and that's why this was the right combination."Robinson takes over from Pat Burns, who is battling cancer and stepped down as coach last week. Burns, a three-time NHL coach of the year, had surgery earlier this month and was expected to undergo chemotherapy.The 53-year-old Burns had surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer following the 2003-04 season. His treatment would have prevented him from coaching in 2004-05, but a lockout forced the cancellation of the season.The NHL and the NHL Players' Association reached a tentative agreement Wednesday. It still needs to be ratified.

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