Terry Murray Fired
It may not be for long, but this is John Stevens' team for now.
For what it lacked in elegance, it made up for in brevity. But what’s done is done and Terry Murray is no longer head coach of the Los Angeles Kings. The team has lost four in a row and currently sits on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture with a 13-12-4 record.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, general manager Dean Lombardi “scorched the players in a meeting” shortly before the firing was announced and that he was “very upset to fire Murray.” During Lombardi’s presser earlier this evening, he admitted that Murray’s dismissal was necessary although the players “are accountable.” “Make no mistake,” continued the GM, “the coach has to pay the price but they’re the one held accountable for this.”
Murray, 61, ends his tenure in the city of angels with the third most wins in franchise history (139) and fourth in games coached (275). He also reached the 100-win mark faster than any other previous coach in the team’s history. The team’s 46 wins that were compiled during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 season under Murray tied a franchise-record for most wins in a regular season.
This was Murray’s fourth head coaching stint in the NHL after previously serving time behind the bench in Washington, Philadelphia, and Florida. The most notable accomplishment of his coaching career would most likely be his Stanley Cup Final run with the Flyers during the 1996-97 season. Of course, being swept by the Detroit Red Wings once he got there surely ended that journey rather abruptly.
Of course, the Kings never advanced past the Western Conferences quarterfinals in Murray’s three seasons with the club.
This move opens the door (on an interim basis) for John Stevens, who has served as an assistant coach since the beginning of last season. His last head coaching duties also came from Philadelphia, where he spent three seasons and compiled 120-109-34 record. He led the 2007-08 squad to the Eastern Conference finals before being unceremoniously fired less than a year and a half later.
Lombardi concluded his conference call with the media by stating that there is no timetable for hiring a long-term replacement, but indicated he has a short list of potential candidates. One can only speculate that it might mean the arrival of Darryl Sutter, a good friend of Lombardi’s who most recently served as the head coach of the Calgary Flames from 2002 to 2006. But once again, that is only speculation at this point. The GM reiterated that the team is currently “looking at all options.”
Either way, it is clear that Stevens won’t be in his current role for any extended period of time. What sort of impact he will have in the next few days will be interesting to see, as these Kings currently need a shake-up of a significant magnitude to find themselves back in the winning column. Suddenly, tomorrow night’s game in Boston just grew exponentially larger.
**Big thanks also to LA Kings insider Rich Hammond, who, aside from being one of the very best to cover this team, made this post possible.