Before making his first major decision as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes – his first decision of any kind – Ron Francis thought about it for a week.

He talked to confidants throughout the game. He considered what the players had to say in their exit interviews. He weighed the arguments in defense of head coach Kirk Muller. And Francis decided what he wanted, more than anything, was a fresh start.

Some novice general managers slide into the job slowly. Francis dove off the highest platform. A mere week after he accepted the role, Francis fired Muller – disregarding owner Peter Karmanos’ televised endorsement of Muller’s performance while firing a warning shot across the bow of any player who somehow saw vindication in outlasting the coach.

“At the end of the day, this in no way, shape or form takes players off the hook,” Francis said Monday, wearing a Hurricanes Alumni golf shirt.