Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kings hire Terry Murray

Well, I wanted to open with a nice link to the LA Times' front-page coverage of Terry Murray's new gig with the Kings. So I went to and scanned the front page... nothing. Hm. Started at the top, scrolled slowly down looking at each section... nothing. Went to the "Find" option on my menu bar, typed in "Kings"... "Text Not Found" was the reply. Wow.

So I clicked on the Sports section. Did a quick scan... nothing but some meaningless Dodgers gibberish. Okey dokey. Scrolled slowly down the page... and there it was!!! Buried beneath categories such as Golf, Olympic Volleyball, Women's Soccer, Mixed Martial Arts, South American Soccer, and a couple notches above Boxing, was a small headline. Check it out... one short quote, and they even bothered to include a little picture.

Needless to say, Murray is going to have his hands full trying to get Hollywood excited about hockey again. He's not exactly going into the most functional organization in the league, and frankly it's hard to imagine he'll have this team in playoff contention anytime soon.

The Kings have great organizational depth due to years of bottom-feeding, but they're struggling to make good things happen on the ice. Despite blue-chip youngsters like Anze Kopitar and Patrick O'Sullivan, they're still pretty weak down the middle. Unfortunately, it seems that the Kings are stronger at producing average 3rd-line prospects than bonafide All-Star futures.

Murray's resume' is respectable but nothing to get excited about: other than a couple of decent seasons replacing his brother Bryan in both Washington and Florida, he's most widely remembered for being the architect of the Flyers' Legion of Doom line... and being fired for correctly suggesting that they were suffering from a "choking situation" in the '97 Finals.

A cynic would see this as another lateral step for the Kings, who forever seem to tread water in an increasingly difficult Pacific Divison. I would like to hope that Murray, who has always seemed like a decent if somewhat uninspiring coach, will be able to resurrect his career by bringing together the Kings' prospects and wringing something out of them in the next 2 or 3 years. In a sense, LA is a dream job for an off-the-radar coach because it carries so little expectation of success.

The bottom line: at least Marc Crawford is mercifully out of the league for the time being.

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