Hmmm, I can’t pretend I didn’t see this one coming. LA Kings head coach Terry Murray was fired this afternoon in response to the Kings’ inconsistent and often lackluster start to the season. The Kings lost their fourth straight game on Saturday to the Dallas Stars, their seventh loss in ten games. All season long the Kings have struggled to score goals and with Mike Richards recently out of the picture on injured reserve, the team has continued in a downward spiral. Despite Murray’s desperate attempts to revive the team, including making some drastic changes in the lineup, nothing was enough to put a consistent stop to the losing pattern. However, Murray’s positive contributions to the team over the last three seasons will not go unnoticed. Out of all the franchise’s head coaches, Murray ranks third in wins with 139, fourth in games coached at 275 and first in winning percentage at .560. Despite consecutive first round losses, he was able to lead the Kings to the playoffs in two back to back years after a six-season playoff drought. In addition, his coaching system helped build one of the most defensively solid teams in the league, and last but not least, he seemed like an all around cool dude. That’s probably the reason why all of the reports say “Terry Murray Relieved Of His Duties” and not “Terry Murray Fired,” except for this one of course. I’m not really one to beat around the bush, but I do feel slightly bad for Murray. I think a lot of the responsibility falls on the players not showing up and playing their best hockey. Firing Murray had to be done if for no other reason than to send a message to the players.
Kings’ General Manager Dean Lombardi had this to say in that regard:
“[The players are] accountable. The coach has to pay the price but make no mistake, they’re the ones accountable for this.”
Lombardi specifically called out Stoll, Williams, Greene, and Brown as some of the guys that need to perform better. It’s an unfortunate situation for Murray, but what’s done is done. Now let’s bring on the new guy, whoever he may be. Lombardi says the list of replacements is “pretty short” and rumors are circulating around Darryl Sutter possibly getting the position. Sutter has coached the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and the Chicago Blackhawks, the team with which he spent his entire NHL playing career. Nothing is confirmed yet, however. In the interim, assistant coach John Stevens will be stepping in to help the Kings kick off their 4 game road trip in Boston tomorrow night. I doubt this will be the end of Murray’s coaching career, but his time in L.A. is officially up. Let’s hope this makes a difference and the Kings can turn this season around.
You can read the full transcript of the conference call with Lombardi here on the Kings Insider Blog.