Home > Commentary > Kings fire head coach Terry Murray, name John Stevens as interim coach

Kings fire head coach Terry Murray, name John Stevens as interim coach

Los Angeles – General manager Dean Lombardi has relieved coach Terry Murray of his coaching duties. Lombardi announced Terry Murray’s firing on Monday afternoon. Assistant coach John Stevens will take over in the interim until a replacement is found. “There’s no timeline right now,” Lombardi said. “We are looking at all our options.” Coach Murray is the fifth coach to be fired this season after Paul Maurice, Davis Payne, Randy Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau. Lombardi made the move around 4 p.m. Eastern time. The Kings are in Boston to begin a four-game road trip that starts tomorrow night against the Bruins.

Stevens, who came to L.A. with Murray from the Philadelphia Flyers, will be charged with getting the Kings offense back on track. As I have been writing about for weeks, this may be exactly what the Kings need, although I am sad to see Murray go. I really liked him. Lombardi said there wasn’t a last straw, although last Saturday night would be a good example. The Kings were held to two goals or fewer for the eighth straight game, a 2-1 loss to Dallas, and were beaten for the second straight game by a goalie making his first NHL start. (Yeah, that one hurt a little.)

After that game, Murray called out the team for a lack of desperation. Lombardi undoubtedly sensed it. But when asked if the team needed a different voice in the room, Lombardi said, “In the end, it still comes down to the player getting his focus and being the best he can be. With young players today, this is a challenge. But I don’t think it’s just the young players. I think it’s been right across the board.”

Lombardi acknowledged that the expectations around the team placed an emphasis on results. The organization has billboards around the city stating that “The Time Is Now.” Many outlets pegged the Kings as a top-four team in the Western Conference, including Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News. “This team came in with a very high level of expectations,” Lombardi said. “And that puts a different perspective on your room and the young players. It’s unique here in that you’re counting on these young players. But the established players have to step up here. This year the expectations were higher, so it gets dicier.”

Wow. Stay tuned as this story develops.

  1. December 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    OK, this one hurts…I loved Terry Murray as a coach, but the Kings have been in a tailspin lately. Since November 3 (the Kings first game in November), they’ve posted a record of 7-9-2 and have dropped 4 straight so far this month. In the standings, they’ve dropped to 4th in the Pacific division and 12th overall in the Western Conference. Hopefully a new voice from the bench is something the players will respond to.

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