Hurricanes hire Red Wings assistant Bill Peters

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Hurricanes hope they now have the leadership tandem in place to turn the franchise around.

Bill Peters was introduced Friday as the Hurricanes new coach, the first big hire made by new Carolina general manager Ron Francis. Now it’s up to Peters to prove it was a shrewd move.

Carolina has made three coaching changes since 2006 and has only one playoff appearance to show for it.

“When I did my due diligence and went to look at rosters … we’re not far off,” Peters said. “I think there’s lots of pieces here and it’s up to us and our coaching staff … to max our group out.”

Peters replaces Kirk Muller, who was fired last month – a week into Francis’ tenure as GM – and went 80-80-27 in three seasons with no playoff berths.

Instead of an established NHL head coach or a popular ex-player, Francis went with Peters – a 48-year-old Detroit Red Wings assistant who has never been an NHL head coach but was in demand this offseason.

Peters said he interviewed for two other jobs and Francis says he spoke to 10 candidates during “a pretty extensive search,” narrowing that to a three-man short list before deciding on Peters and giving him a three-year contract.

“You have to take the time to go through it and make sure you get the right guy,” Francis said, “and that’s what we did.”

Peters’ plan is to address three glaring problems from last season: Starting games strong, producing more on the power play and winning more often at PNC Arena. Carolina was the league’s third-worst team with the man advantage and was just 18-17-6 at home.

“We’ve got to become a harder team to play against here in Raleigh,” Peters said.