I agree with AP, Murray will need all the luck in the world when it comes to his new job.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Good luck, Terry Murray. You’ve just been hired for the toughest job in the National Hockey League.
That’s what Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Thursday when he introduced Murray as the 22nd head coach in franchise history at the team’s training facility.
Murray, who turns 58 Sunday, signed a three-year, $2.65 million contract to succeed Marc Crawford, who was fired June 10 after two unsuccessful seasons.
Unsuccessful has been the byword for the Kings in recent years since they haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2002. They had 71 points last season — tied with Tampa Bay for the fewest in the NHL.
“When you’re in a rebuilding process, you have to keep your eyes on two things: What’s in front of you, and where you want to go,” Lombardi said. “If you have a very good team in place, it’s easy to focus on the next game. When you’re dealing with young players, it changes day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. That’s what I mean about the difficulty of the job.
“I think what I mean when I say the toughest job is it’s more multitasking. We want to put together a nucleus that can stick together. Sometimes there’s no good or bad coaches, it’s right fit. The No. 1 thing is that getting young is a process. He’s been through the process.”
Murray guided the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals 11 years ago, and has coached 737 regular-season NHL games.
Murray, whose last head coaching job was with the Florida Panthers, will need a miracle or two to get the Kings turned around. The team’s ownership has shown little patience in recent memory with both coaches and players. Murray’s tenure in LA is therefore likely to be a short one. Just as it was with his predecessor, Marc Crawford. As it stands, the Kings are probably the worst team in the NHL.
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