Kings' Murray wants to move on from Jason Demers hit
Kings Coach Terry Murray, who was irate Friday that San Jose defenseman Jason Demers wasn’t punished for a high hit on Kings forward Ryan Smyth in Game 1 Thursday, declined to discuss it again Saturday.
“You know what, it’s time to turn the page. This is Game 2. Forget about it,” Murray said after the team’s morning skate at HP Pavilion.
“The game is over. There was a lot of competitive atmosphere there. There’s a lot of competitive play. It was a good game and this is now Game 2 and that’s the focus.”
Murray said Friday that Demers’ hit in the third period was “five times more severe a hit on Ryan Smyth than what Jarret Stoll’s hit is on [Ian] White,” and compared it to a hit by Steve Downie four years ago that drew a 20-game suspension from the NHL.
“All I know is that other hit is five times more severe, more intent, traveling distance, launching yourself 2 to 3 feet off the ice and a blow to the head. That is a major, long-time suspension,” Murray said of the Demers hit, which occurred early in the third period.
Murray’s remarks were reviewed by the NHL but it’s believed he was not fined.
Smyth said he wasn't injured by the hit and hadn't looked at a replay. “At the time, on the ice, I thought it was a high hit,” he said. “Obviously, it wasn’t called so … things happen.”
A league executive who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly said Demers’ hit should have been a minor penalty and that a couple of other hits in the game probably should have led to penalties as well.
Demers, as could be expected, said his rising hit on Smyth didn’t merit punishment.
Demers also said he wasn’t concerned with Murray’s comments.
“Everyone has their opinion. I can’t get mad at him for his opinions,” Demers said. “He saw what he saw and I saw what I saw. Not much I can do about that. Just let him have his opinions and get ready for the next game.”
Demers agreed with a suggestion that Murray might have been planting a seed in the minds of the referees but said he won't change his game.
“I’m going to keep hitting and I’m going to keep playing aggressive,” Demers said. “It’s playoff time so I think it’s time to step up our physical game. Maybe he is trying to get in my head but I’m going to play the same way I played the last game, finishing hits and keep playing hard.”
More coming later at Latimes.com/sports.
-- Helene Elliott, reporting from San Jose
Photo: Sharks defenseman Jason Demers lifts Kings forward Ryan Smyth off the ice with a hit in the first period Thursday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press