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L.A. Kings Fire Coach Robinson


Larry Robinson is out as coach of the Los Angeles Kings after his team failed to make the playoffs three of the last four years, The Associated Press learned Monday.

A source close to Robinson, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the coach was informed during a 30-minute morning meeting with general manager Dave Taylor.

The Kings scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. EDT at the Forum.

Robinson was in the final year of a four-year contract. He declined to sign an extension that was offered last September when the team was struggling.

Robinson, who won six Stanley Cups during a Hall of Fame playing career with Montreal, had a 122-161-45 record in four seasons. The Kings' only playoff appearance ended with a first-round sweep by St. Louis last season.

"We promised people we'd be in the playoffs this year, and we're not there," Kings president Tim Leiweke said last week. "I don't like having to go face the fans and admit to them that at the end of the day we didn't fulfill the potential and the goal that we had for the year.

"I am mad as hell, so is Dave, so our owners, so is our coach, and I think so are the players," Leiweke added. "At least I hope they are."

The Kings finished the season with a 32-45-5 record, losing 25 one-goal games. Their power play was among the worst in the league and they lost more than 335 man-games to injuries or illness.

Their last game was 3-2 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. That left Robinson's future with Taylor, the former Kings player who became GM two years into Robinson's tenure.

Robinson said Sunday there was nothing he would change about his coaching. The 47-year-old coach came to the Kings after being an assistant with New Jersey when the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 1995.

"Given the circumstances, I think we did a great job," he said. "I feel that we've started something good here. This organization is heading in the right direction."

Robinson trails only Bob Pulford in games coached (327) and games won (122) among Los Angeles coaches. Robinson finished his playing career with the Kings in 1992, having never missed the playoffs in 20 seasons.

"The frustration that he feels, I'm sure eats at him daily," center Ray Ferraro said.

Robinson was popular among his players and known for inordinate patience.

"I don't have any doubt about Larry's coaching ability," left wing Luc Robitaille said. "You can have the best system in the league, but if you're not giving 100 percent, you're not going to win. That's what happened this year."

Ferraro said the players should feel responsible for Robinson's fate.

"Larry is as nice a man as you could ever possibly play for," Ferraro said. "He gave every guy the benefit of the doubt and in some cases that was taken advantag of."

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