Major thanks again to Don for compiling this. He has included the press-conference quotes from Dean Lombardi and Terry Murray as well as quotes from a one-on-one interview with Murray…
Lombardi Opening Statement
I think this is the toughest job in the National Hockey League right now. Many of you who have followed us for the last couple of years, this is the first year that I think we are going to start to get young. And getting young and building a franchise is very difficult. It requires someone with special skills, because getting young for the sake of getting young is not the way to build. You have to get young in the right way, and you have to get young at the right time.
Overall, it requires someone who can focus on each individual battle, but not lose sight of the ultimate objective, which is to win the war.
The checklist required for this job:
Number one, a knowledge of the game. I don’t think there is anybody who could question, who knows the game and knows the National Hockey League of Murph’s respect that he has in terms of understanding the game inside and out.
Number two, work ethic. I know from experience that his light burns longer than mine and with that I know he is putting in the effort.
Three, a teacher. For those of you who can remember Murph as a player, he was a smart player who got by on his smarts and his guile and found a way through the years to translate his experience to younger players and veteran players alike.
Four, he’s honest and direct. He knows and distinguishes between those who are kissing his butt and who are hustling his butt. He won’t always tell them what they want to hear, but in the end it is about trusting him and trusting that he wants to make you better.
Five, he is about structure on and off the ice in everything we do.
Six, the ability to communicate, and when I say communicate, when you have 80 players on your reserve list, it is up to everybody in the franchise to be able to communicate with the players. But the importance of the head coach in communication is establishing the message from the trenches and finding a way to delegate it so that it goes out clearly and concisely and on the same page.
Seven, understanding the meaning of culture. I don’t think it is any coincidence that three of the four teams in the Stanley Cup Finals have a history of winning. Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia are teams that have established a culture that I think is invaluable. It is that five or ten percent that makes you a little better than your competition and I think having watched Terry through the years and to see where he’s been, he understands the larger picture of building a culture as well as a team.
Lastly, the issue of character. I don’t think character is what you say, it is what you do. I think sometimes the most revealing test of character is how you handle adversity. When you are in athletics the meaning of character is to be the best you can be and be a teammate. When Murph was not coaching, he didn’t go out and promote himself. He accepted a job within the organization, asked his role, and went out and did it, to do everything he could to help the organization to win. It wasn’t beneath him to be a scout. He went out and learned and saw the bigger picture by sitting in the rinks and studying other teams. When he was asked to be an assistant coach, he assisted one of the most successful current coaches in Ken Hitchcock, and went out there and did his job every night for the best of the team. And then he assisted in breaking in one of the top young coaches in the game in John Stevens. And that is character. It was all about the team and not himself.
There is no question that Murph met the checklist and I am pleased to introduce him to the Los Angeles Kings.
Murray Opening Statement.
This is very exciting for me and my family to be come a part of this organization. I’m coming in to this with my eyes wide open. As Dean was talking about my past experience the last few years with the Philadelphia Flyers, I know exactly what the process is, to move this along and to get this organization back on track. We have some very good young hockey players in this organization, and we’re going to get younger and we are going to bring along those young players at the right time and develop them in the right process so that they can feel success in this NHL. It is a very, very difficult league to play in; it’s a man’s league, but I’m looking forward to putting in the time and effort to help develop these young hockey players to become the very best that they can.
This process that I have been through the last couple of weeks with the interview and meetings with Dean and Hexy has been very revealing to me. The amount of work that has been put into this organization since the end of the season until now has been absolutely incredible. I see the amount of time that has been put in by these two people and the other people from the organization sitting in this room today. I know that from this point forward, we as a coaching staff are required to put in the same amount of time for the process of bringing these players along.
It is going to be hard, I’ll tell you that right now and be upfront about it. I know it is going to be difficult and I know there are going to be some very long nights, but as we work our way through the process and come out on the other side, we are going to have some young players who are going to be the core players of this hockey club and they are going to take ownership of this hockey club. And we as coaches and management, we look at it you see that good things are really going to start happening and it is a great opportunity for this young group of players to come out of training camp and take advantage of this opportunity that is there for them now.
Q&A With Terry Murray
On if, after being out of a head coaching job since 2001, he ever thought he would get this opportunity:
“I did think that I would some day. I was hoping that it would happen at some point and it has. It is a great opportunity. I’m really looking forward to working with people I know in Dean and Hexy, our time together in Philadelphia and bringing that understanding how we work and operate together and bring it all together for the Kings and make this thing work and work in the right way. It is an exciting time.”
On the factors that brought him to Los Angeles:
“The opportunity to work with good people and a team that has a plan that has been put in place and laid out before me. This team has real good young players right now and we need to get younger and we need to bring in people from the organization, players we have drafted and get them into the process of playing and developing. And I also understand that process requires a lot of doing it the right way, we have to make sure that the players we bring in are ready to play. So we need to get younger, we need to get the young guys going and we also need to get the players who are presently young players on this hockey club to really start to show the way, to help lead and take over as core players on this hockey club and help these new young guys get their feet under them the right way.”
On if coaching this Kings team is similar to any previous coaching experiences:
“There are similarities absolutely. When I took over the Philadelphia Flyers they had missed the playoffs five years in a row. Yes, they had some real good players in place, but the fact of the matter is that you have to change the attitude, you have to get things back on track and start playing as a team and doing things the right way. Going into Florida and taking a team that had been in last place, it took a year where we got reorganized, got some new guys in the lineup and got headed in the right direction and made the playoffs the second year. So yes, there are similarities in places I’ve been and I’m hoping to draw on that experience and get things going the right way.”
On putting together his coaching staff:
“I need to go through that with people here. It is just going to be a matter of sitting down and meeting and seeing what they are thinking. I need to get some feel for where they are and make some decisions real soon. I don’t want to delay this long. I want to get it in place so we can start getting ready for training camp.”
On his coaching philosophy:
“My philosophy coming in after going to teams to coach that were going through tough times is patience, communication, development, on-ice structure. I’m very big on the details side of things. It is developing a core group of players, the leadership group that I want to have as the liaisons that can carry the message from my office into the locker room. There’s a lot of things that I think need to be set in place in order to start getting things to work the right way. And that is the challenge that you have. You have a group of players and you want to bring it together as a team as soon as possible. I see Dustin Brown sitting here today and players like him and the young guys on this hockey club and helping to accelerate that it will make the head coaching job a little easier.”
On his young defensemen:
“We know defenseman is a difficult position to play for a young player. It is going to take everyone on the ice, the whole team to help develop the young players, especially defenseman. In system-style play, we really need the forwards to help out on the defensive part of the game for those young defensemen to have success. They can’t be isolated and left on their own facing odd situations coming at them with a lot of speed. The game has that today more than ever, the speed coming at them and decision-making has to be a reaction. We’ll get the young defensemen going in the right direction and the confidence in their games that they need so that they can contribute as we start to move forward here.”
On the Kings job being the most difficult in the NHL:
“The head coaching job is real hard whether you are coaching a top team in the NHL, your job with all of that good talent and expectations really high, it is no different for the teams that have not made the playoffs. The expectations are to develop the players and to become better. It is a process, and we’ve got to go through that process together. We have talked about this as an organization, we know that and we are going to follow that plan.”
On how his coaching style changed following his controversial dismissal from the Flyers in 1997:
“Philosophies can change and they do from year to year, team to team. The fact that I did go into scouting and saw what the game was about from that side, and then I became an assistant coach for Ken Hitchcock and also with John Stevens and you see the young players that are now brought in, I think since the 2004 lock-out there has been a great change in our game. With the cap in place you’re now demanded literally to bring the young players into the system and that takes a lot of change of philosophy. We have to bring young players along and we have to develop our veteran players to be better players. Today, as opposed to before the lock-out if you were having problems with a player you could very easily send him to the minors or trade him, but times have changed. Culture has changed, philosophies have changed, attitudes have changed. I much more relaxed than I was in 1994 when I first became coach of the Flyers. Experience has been a wonderful thing.”
On the next steps he will take to introducing himself to his players:
“The first thing I want to do is sit down with our strength and conditioning coach. This is such an important time right now through the start of training camp as to how the whole thing will work. I’m sure things are already in place, but I just want to get an opportunity to sit down and talk and discuss the importance from my side of it and my experience in the game. This is an opportunity to get better, stronger and develop these young players. After that, I want to sit down and talk to players, phone calls, get with players who are down here and get a feel for who they are what they are all about.”
On the Southern California hockey environment:
“Any city in the game today, any environment is what you make it to be. I coached in Florida and in Washington and Philadelphia and you develop a culture, an identity or feeling around your locker room. To me it doesn’t matter, when I go into that rink and go out on the ice, you are in a hockey rink and you are there to play hockey. But we have to make sure that we do the right thing with the young players. It doesn’t matter where you are, whether you are in Philadelphia or Los Angeles, if you’re not doing the right stuff with the young players and making sure that they are on track every day and reminding them of all the distractions that are out there and to keep focus and practice and playing hard then it is going to be difficult no matter where you are.”