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Colorado Avalanche Fire Bob Hartley

December 19, 2002 GMT

DENVER (AP) _ The Colorado Avalanche fired coach Bob Hartley on Wednesday, just two seasons after he led them to their second Stanley Cup title in six years.

Assistant coach Tony Granato will replace Hartley.

Hartley led Colorado to the 2001 Stanley Cup and four straight trips to the Western Conference finals, but couldn’t get the Avalanche to break out of their early season slump.

Colorado, 10-8-9-4, is fourth in the Northwest Division with 33 points _ 10 behind leader Minnesota. The Avalanche have struggled the most at home, winning just three of 15 games.

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``Today I decided to make a decision in order to move forward with a situation where I felt the team was not performing at the level it should,″ general manager Pierre Lacroix said. ``And I asked Bob (Hartley). I told Bob Hartley he would no longer be a part of the organization.″

Hartley, who was promoted from Hershey in 1998, is Colorado’s all-time wins leader at 193-109-48 in 4 1/2 seasons with the Avalanche. He was 49-31 in the playoffs and got the Avalanche within one game of the Stanley Cup finals last year.

Hartley was the first coach since Chicago’s Billy Reay in 1967 to take his team to the conference finals his first four years.

Granato, who retired in 2001 after 13 NHL seasons, was in his first season as an assistant coach.