Kings' Terry Murray says he overreacted in criticizing fans
Kings Coach Terry Murray, who said hearing fans at Staples Center boo his team after the second period of an eventual 4-0 loss to St. Louis on Thursday was “the most embarrassing thing I have ever been through,” acknowledged Friday that he shouldn’t have vented his emotions toward the paying customers.
“I overreacted probably, in saying … you don’t want to drag them into the reason why, but I did. There’s nothing I can do about it now,” he said after the team’s practice in El Segundo.
“It’s never the right thing to throw stuff at your fans. I know that. It was a night to forget.”
The Kings were trailing, 2-0, at the time and had taken only six shots. They finished with a season-low 17.
The poor performance was in dramatic contrast to the team’s sweep of a four-game trip that ended Tuesday at Nashville. Murray blamed himself for giving players a day off on Wednesday instead of having them practice to stay sharp.
He said he knew the first home game after a toughtrip would be difficult for the Kings, who are winless in their last three home games, and he allowed his emotions to boil over while speaking to reporters in his usual postgame news conference.
“I was very upset about how things went [Thursday] night with the way we played, right from the very start of the game,” he said. “The turnovers, being outbattled along the boards, dot to boards, giving up the great scoring chances we did, our power play right at the start we have an opportunity to do something and we don’t. We turn the puck over. We go offside on it right at the start.
“It’s just a lot of things that were frustrating. And obviously the fact that we [had] six shots at the end of the second period was glaring at me the whole game. And then to give up that late goal, it was a reaction to a very frustrated coach. Just disappointing.
“That’s the last thing you want to hear going into the dressing room. You’re trying to find a way to start a fire in there, to get a good 20 minutes of hockey and that’s what you go into the room with, that kind of, you’re remembering that probably as much as anything that’s happening in the game.
“So I was frustrated.”
So were many fans in the announced sellout crowd of 18,118. They had arrived in a festive mood on St. Patrick’s Day only to have the Kings spoil their party.
“These fans, I’ve said that many times, we’ve got great fans. I know that. They mean a lot to this hockey club,” Murray said. “They’ve got a lot of energy and a lot of emotion to our games and have helped us through a lot of difficult times. The atmosphere in our building right from the middle of the year last year right through the playoffs has been incredible because of the fans.”
Murray also said rugged left wing Kyle Clifford won’t play against the Ducks on Saturday at Staples Center because of an upper-body injury Clifford suffered in a first-period fight. The injury is believed to involve his head but the Kings wouldn’t be specific and the league allows teams to be vague. Brad Richardson will replace Clifford in the lineup.
Jonathan Quick is scheduled to start in goal.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Terry Murray. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times