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N.J. won’t rush to hire coach NOTES

NEWARK, N.J. — Lou Lamoriello says he won’t accelerate his search for a New Jersey Devils head coach just to have one hired before this weekend’s NHL draft.

“There is no sense of urgency,” said Lamoriello, the team’s president and general manager, in a Monday telephone call with The Associated Press. “We would like to get it done as quickly as possible, but you go through a process.”

Brent Sutter resigned as the Devils’ coach two weeks ago, citing a desire to spend more time at home in western Canada after a two-year stint in New Jersey. There have been reports that Sutter will become the Calgary Flames coach.

Lamoriello declined to say whether the Devils have given the Flames permission to talk to Sutter, who had a year left on his Devils’ contract, about the job.

“I will not have any comment on that situation until there is something definite one way or the other, and don’t misread or be misled by that,” Lamoriello said. “That is something I have been consistent with.”

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur said last week that he would not mind seeing former coach Jacques Lemaire return to New Jersey. Lemaire recently resigned as head coach of the Minnesota Wild.

However, Brodeur said he liked the way the Devils’ offense improved under Sutter’s system.

The day Sutter resigned, he said that Devils assistant coach John MacLean was ready for a head coaching job.

THRASHERS

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Thrashers have hired Rick Dudley, who spent the past five years as an executive with the Chicago Blackhawks, as associate general manager.

Thrashers executive vice president and general manager Don Waddell says the 60-year-old Dudley will oversee scouting and player development for the NHL team.

Dudley was assistant general manager of the Blackhawks for the past two seasons. He joined the Blackhawks in 2004 as a consultant and became director of player personnel in 2005.

SABRES

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres are negotiating with Jaroslav Spacek in an attempt to re-sign the veteran defenseman before he’s eligible to become a free agent next week.

General manager Darcy Regier said he’s made Spacek an offer and plans to have further discussions with the player’s agent, Stephen Freyer, before the start of free agency on July 1.

Freyer said his client is interested in staying in Buffalo, but said it’s too early to predict what will happen. Spacek led Sabres defensemen with eight goals and 45 points last season, his third with the team.

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