Upon his hiring, one of the first things Terry Murray talked about was sitting down with Chad Smith, the Kings’ strength and conditioning coach, to discuss how players could be in the best possible physical condition. Here, Murray talks about the importance of the issue…
Question: You talked, early on, about the importance of fitness. How is that working out, and do you have any specific ideas about what you’d like to see from guys?
MURRAY: “Fitness, to me, is… I put great value in it. In order to play today’s game, with the skating requirements, with the ice that’s available, with the restrictions that are put on the hooking and the holding that weren’t there before the lockout, you’ve got to be able to get around the ice. If one player is attacking with his speed, the support in this game today is critical. You need to have close, 10-15 foot support, so that means five players up the ice, five players back on the defensive side of things. That requires a lot of work. So we’re looking at high-level intensity, a lot of work, a lot of battling.
“Goal scoring is very hard today. The checking schemes that are out there are very sophisticated. They’re all back to `home plate’ and you really have to dig in and pay a hard price in one-on-one situations. It becomes very hard and it takes a great physical conditioning level to be able to be a goal scorer today. So that’s why we’re doing a lot of the skating. I know players come into camp in good shape. but we’re trying to get it to the next level as quickly as possible. It’s a primary issue with me, all the time, the physical conditioning side of it.”