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As news of Terry Murray's potential/maybe/we'll see hiring by the Los Angeles Kings continues to roll through the media, we're faced with one big question: Why him?

I had a few folks compare Murray to new Ottawa Senators coach Craig Hartsburg, whom I labeled a retread when he was hired. Sorry, no contest. Take a look at the coaching records for Hartsburg and Murray; there's no comparison in depth of experience, postseason success or long-term impact. Just because Murray's on his fourth team (allegedly) doesn't make him a retread. The only concern I usually have in a spot like this is whether an old head coach can still make it work in the "new" NHL. His experience on the Flyers' bench alleviates that fear.

Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings explained the LA/Murray connection:

He fits two of Dean Lombardi's two qualifications. He's a defenseman, and Lombardi understands the importance of developing the Kings' young defensemen, particularly next season, when there could be a handful of kids on the blue line. He's also familiar to Lombardi, since they were employed by the Flyers at the same time. As a bonus, Murray has won. He showed a sustained ability to get his team to the playoffs and took one, the 1996-97 Flyers, to the Stanley Cup Finals.

On the other hand... there seems to be some surprise that the Kings would hire a coach who has been fired three times, and an older coach. Murray turns 58 on Sunday.

That last point is an important one, because there's a chance something like 85 percent of next year's roster (rough estimate) will be under 30.

But even when he was 43, Murray was a guy who could work with players of all ages. With the departure of Rob Blake, perhaps a father figure behind the bench suits this team. Perhaps not; maybe the Kings would do better to grow with a coach rather than grow under him.

What's always interested me about Murray is that he's one of the few coaches to ever be fired after taking a team to the Stanley Cup finals. The Philadelphia Flyers clipped him because his relationship with players was deteriorating, especially after he said "it is basically a choking situation for a team" when the Flyers were flopping in 1997. What a pisser that must have been. Yet another highlight from Eric Lindros's epic career in orange and black. Wonder if he remembers it?

So that's Terry Murray. And so is this, and boy is he she happy about the extra Web traffic. Bottom line is that either of them is going to be an improvement over Marc Crawford. Which is all a Kings fan should care about.

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