December 12, 2011
At 13-12-4, the Los Angeles Kings are a struggling team.
Toss in the fact that they have the worst offense in the NHL at 2.21 goals per game on average — a byproduct of their coach's defense-first philosophy — and this team with $63,514,510 committed in cap salary is downright mediocre.
According to Helene Elliott and Lisa Dillman of the LA Times, the Kings' brass has seen enough and are "poised to dismiss Coach Terry Murray this week, hoping to halt a string of disappointing performances."
From the LA Times:
On Monday, [GM Dean] Lombardi was scheduled to fly to Boston, where the Kings open a four-game trip Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins. When contacted Sunday, Lombardi declined to comment on his plans.
His hand might have been forced by the loss Saturday. The Kings have showed little emotion, perhaps mirroring a coach known for his stone-faced reserve behind the bench.
The Times reports that "a candidate has not been found to replace Murray," meaning that an interim coaching gig for Murray's assistant and former Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens appears likely in the short-term. The Times also reports that the Kings are not thought to be interested in former Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, depriving us of that delicious twist to their nasty rivalry. (If you want to go with former Lombardi associates ... hey, wonder if Darryl Sutter wants behind the bench again.)
We spelled out all the reasons why it's time for Murray to go over the weekend.
Lombardi was expected to hang with Murray until his hand was forced. We figured it would be when the Western Conference standings dictated it, but it sounds like it might be an edict from above instead.
The Kings play their next four games on the road; will Terry Murray still be their coach when they return home to face the Ducks on Dec. 22?