Terry Murray talks here about the number of young players expected to be a part of the Kings’ plans this season, specifically how he intends to evaluate them in training camp and the balance between holding them accountable but not being too tough on them…
Question: It’s obvious from looking at the roster. There are a lot of young defensemen and a few young goalies. What kind of mindset will you go into training camp with, in terms of these guys? Will you have a complete open mind or do you have thoughts about how many young guys might stick?
MURRAY: Certainly there are roster spots available, and it’s a great opportunity for the players because of a new coach coming in. The philosophy I will have coming into training camp is certainly to have a very open mind. Talking to the players, it will be, `Show me, guys, what you can do and we’ll make the proper decision for the success of this organization.’ We’ll always do what’s right for the team. That’s the most important thing they need to know. The opportunity for the players coming in, as far as young guys are concerned, this is a tremendous situation for them.
There are no preconceived ideas and no preconceived opinions of players. Certainly I’m listening to everybody talking upstairs (in the front office), but everyone is saying the same thing. We’ve had players in the organization the last couple years. We’ve had development programs going on this year, at a couple different times, and all of these young players have shown strides along the way. Where will they be in September? It’s a wait-and-see attitude and hopefully good things are going to be shown by all the players. There are going to be bumps there in training camp but we know we have talent and we know we have some good skill in the organization, but we have to do the right thing for the player and for the organization.
Question: Can you talk about how you handle young players? You’re going to have a lot here, especially on the back end. What’s most important to you, in terms of teaching them and holding them accountable but also not discouraging them too much?
MURRAY: The development process, it’s actually pretty simple. To me, as a coach, there’s only three things that go into developing players. That’s intensity, duration and repetition. That’s it. There is no magic potion and no other formula that I have experienced in my coaching career. It’s a matter of spending time with the team and the players, whether it’s a group of defensemen or just a pair of defensemen, where you’re showing them a lot of video, you’re breaking down the performance and giving them instant feedback as to how they’re doing out there. Then you go into a practice situation on the ice and you go through the same stuff, repeating it and doing it at a good tempo and doing it at the right duration, so that you’re not going to break people down physically. It works. They will show improvement as time goes on. But then you have to monitor the whole thing as you’re playing the games. That’s really critical. They want to be able to feel success and taste success and not put them in an overmatched situation, where they’re going to constantly second-guess and come away having doubt.