The Hartford Whalers announced Sunday that Larry Pleau has replaced Jack Evans as head coach and will take over the National Hockey League team immediately.
Evans announced earlier that he would retire at the end of the season, but Whaler General Manager Emile Francis said he did not want a lame-duck coach.
Pleau, 40, a native of Lynn, Mass., who played with Hartford and the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL and was a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team, has been the head coach of the Whalers' American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y.
Evans, 59, had a record of 163-174-37 in Hartford. The Whalers are 23-25-7 and in fourth place in the Adams Division.