Kings' Dean Lombardi, Terry Murray talking . . . how about winning?
Kings Coach Terry Murray said he and General Manager Dean Lombardi speak daily about the team’s struggles and the urgency to reverse a slide that had reached 2-10 before the Kings faced the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday at Jobing.com Arena.
Murray said Saturday he feels pressure from Lombardi to turn things around but said they had not had any “extraordinary” conversation beyond the “Let’s get it going” type of chat while analyzing what’s going right and what’s going wrong each morning.
Lombardi said last week he wasn’t considering firing Murray and that he understood Murray’s constant line juggling to be an attempt to squeeze some goals out of an offense that has gone stagnant.
“Dean’s been great,” Murray said. “Just talking the right way, like GMs and coaches should talk. The daily situation and the situation that you’re in and the importance of getting things turned around. Everybody’s working together.
“There’s no extraordinary conversation. It’s just ordinary stuff that’s happening, whether you’re on a roll at the start of the year and Dean’s contribution is great because he’s trying to help us be better. When you get into a situation like this it’s the same. Everybody is trying to help each other get through it and work it out so that we can put together a stretch of games and put some wins on the board.”
Murray said he had seen some good signs during a losing streak that reached three Thursday with a 2-0 loss to the Coyotes in the opener of this home-and-home sequence.
“There’s been some real good things with our skating. More L.A. King-like, that we saw at the start of the year,” Murray said. “All that’s holding us back right now is breaking through on the scoring side of it and we can put a good stretch of games here together.”
“We just keep pushing,” he said. “There’s a lot of real good things that are happening with each group out there as far as possession time and movement with the puck. We just get away from being in the right place to either stay at the net on a more consistent basis, shooting the puck when the opportunity is there, looking to overpass it.
“And the other thing that seems to pop out to me is just that skating off the puck in the offensive zone to give each other the support for that play that is needed because of the pressure that’s coming at you. We need to identify that when you’re away from the puck. You’re the guy that dictates the pass and clearly we need to have a faster, more clear read on that and get to position for that man.”
Murray also said he would wait for the pregame warmups to decide whether he will use enforcer Kevin Westgarth or Alexei Ponikarovsky on the fourth line. That decision, he said, would be based on whether the Coyotes play tough guy Paul Bissonnette, who has become a minor celebrity with his pithy tweets on Twitter at biznasty2point0.
“If Bissonnette’s in there, I’m a little concerned about what his twittering is,” Murray said.
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--Helene Elliott in Glendale, Ariz.
Photo: Kings Coach Terry Murray watches a shift change during a game against the Edmonton Oilers in December. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press