Don Fulton went out to the Terry Murray news conference today and filed this great report. He’s working on more of the transcript of the day and we’ll have those quotes up later in the day. Thanks, Don…
Hoping to have secured a vital component of its rebuilding plan, the Los Angeles Kings today named Terry Murray as their head coach – the 22nd in team history – at a news conference at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.
Murray, who turns 58 on Sunday, succeeds Marc Crawford, who was fired June 10, and has ties to Kings’ general manager Dean Lombardi, as the two worked together in the Philadelphia Flyers organization from 2002 to 2006.
“We are very pleased that Terry has accepted this challenge,” Lombardi said. “He has a wide range of coaching experience and he understands the importance of teaching, which is critical to the building process.”
Murray takes over a team that tied Tampa Bay with a league low 71 points last season, a task that is not lost on his general manager.
“I think this is the toughest job in the National Hockey League right now,” Lombardi said.
For his part, Murray seems excited about the prospects of having such a young group of players to send out to battle each night.
“I’m coming in to this with my eyes wide open. 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,” he said.
The younger brother of Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray, Terry Murray has been an assistant coach with the Flyers the last four seasons and has more than 700 games of experience as an NHL head coach on his resume. The Kings have signed him to a three-year deal.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Murray said. “This will be my biggest challenge as a coach. There is a lot of work ahead and it will take a collective effort to execute the plan we have in place. I am looking forward to training camp and to getting the process under way.”
An assistant coach for the Washington Capitals from 1983-84 to 1987-88, Murray was named head coach of Washington’s AHL affiliate in Baltimore for a season and a half, starting in 1988-89 before assuming the Capitals’ head coaching duties – taking over at midseason from brother Bryan – from 1989-90 to 1993-94.
Washington made the playoffs in each of Murray’s four full seasons with the team, including a trip to the conference finals in his first season.
Murray was replaced in the middle of the 1993-94 season, as Washington sputtered to a 20-23-4 record to start the season.
He then worked the balance of that season as the head coach of the IHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones before assuming the head coaching duties of the Flyers in 1994-95, a post he held through the 1996-97 season.
The Flyers made the playoffs in all three seasons with Murray at the helm, culminating in a trip to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals where the team was swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Murray became embroiled in controversy when he was quoted as saying that his team was “basically in a choking situation” following a 6-1 loss in Detroit that put the Flyers in a 3-0 hole in the series. A week after Philadelphia was eliminated, Murray was fired by the team with general manager Bobby Clarke citing “problems that existed between the coach and the players.”
The Flyers kept Murray in the organization as a pro scout during the 1997-98 season, a post he held until assuming head coaching duties for the Florida Panthers during the 1998-99 season, replacing brother Bryan, who held the dual title of general manager and interim head coach at the time.
Murray led the Panthers to a 98-point season in 1999-00 with 43 wins, however the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and after Florida won only six of its first 36 games in the 2000-01 season, Murray was fired.
Murray’s NHL coaching record is 360-277-89-11. His NHL playoff coaching record is 46-43.
As a player, Murray, a defenseman, played in parts of nine NHL seasons from 1972 to 1982 for the California Golden Seals, Philadelphia, Detroit and Washington. A stay-at-home defenseman, Murray tallied four goals, 76 assists and 199 penalty minutes in 302 NHL games.