Kings fire Coach Terry Murray
The Kings on Monday fired Coach Terry Murray, hoping to jolt the team out of a four-game losing streak and season-long scoring drought and back into playoff position.
General Manager Dean Lombardi flew to Boston on Monday to tell Murray in person. Murray, one win away from 500 in his career, conducted the team’s practice Monday morning at the TD Garden. His Kings record was 139-106-30 and he ranks third all time in wins among the franchise's coaches.
Lombardi was expected to comment during a conference call later Monday.
Assistant coach John Stevens was appointed interim coach. The Kings open a four-game trip Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Murray took over as coach in 2008 and was charged with giving a foundering team a strong defensive foundation. He did that very well, but he was unable to coax consistent scoring out of a team that this season elevated its talent level by trading for Mike Richards and signing winger Simon Gagne as a free agent.
After scoring only six goals in losing their last four games, the Kings rank last in the NHL in goals per game, at 2.24, a disappointing showing given their decision this summer to spend nearly to the salary-cap limit and make a concerted charge at the Stanley Cup.
Stevens might be a candidate for the job on a permanent basis, but his philosophies are similar to Murray’s and so he might not bring about enough change. Lombardi has previously worked with Darryl Sutter, who was let go by the Calgary Flames a year ago, and Sutter is a potential candidate. Sources said the Kings have not requested permission from the Penguins to talk to assistant coach Tony Granato, a popular former King who coached in Colorado but struggled there.
More coverage later at www.latimes.com/sports
Photo: Kings Coach Terry Murray earlier this season. Credit: Ina Fassbender / Reuters.