OK, here’s the final part of the Terry Murray interview. In this last part, Murray talks about his evolution as a coach and how he might have changed over the years.
Hope everyone found the interview worthwhile… I’m sure there will be another long-form interview with Dean Lombardi before the start of training camp, and once players start arriving there will be some Q&As with them as well.
Here’s the last part of the Murray interview…
Question: Finally, I wanted to know about your evolution as a coach. As you look back, how do you think you have changed, and how is this version of you going to be different from a few years ago?
MURRAY: Well, I’m much more relaxed than when I first came into it. When you get into coaching… Fortunately, I came into it as an assistant coach in the NHL. I went from playing, right into an assistant coach’s role for six years. Then I went to the American Hockey League, for a year and a half, to run my own team. That was a great process, but even with that experience, coming in to be a head coach in the NHL, that’s an eye-opener. It’s different. You think you’ve learned a lot and you think you know a lot and that you’re going to get this thing going right away and turn it right around… Well, there’s a lot of great coaches in the game and you go through a learning curve. But experience helps you relax, and I’ve changed a great deal, even from my head-coaching days to being an assistant coach under Hitch (Ken Hitchcock) and the last couple years in Philly with John Stevens. It’s something that I welcomed, to be able to back away like that. Then you get the itch again. You’re always a head coach and you want to get back into it.
From a process of how the game has changed, and it has… When I started, we had players who were on two-way deals. You could send players down, basically if they had three or four off games, `OK, we need to switch him out.’ You could do those things. You had 25 or 26 players on the roster. You could put guys in the press box and pull a guy out. Well, those days are gone. The process, with the teams we have today, there’s a lot of youth coming in and we’re seeing more of that. We’re talking about that with our own hockey club right now. So the coaching and the teaching is paramount. That’s probably how I’ve changed, more than in any other way. You see how important it is to bring those young players along, from an organization’s point of view, to teach, to have development camps and to do the right thing with your AHL team and to do the right thing here with your young players and the teaching process. The commitment that it takes, from that side of it, has changed dramatically. I understand that, and I really have a good handle on how teams around this game, in the last five years — since the lockout in particular — how the mindset of organizations has changed. I think I have changed along with them, and it’s a great change that has happened in our game.