EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rob Ftorek decided to take over as coach of the Kings Wednesday, agreeing to terms of a two-year contract that sources said will pay him about $100,000 a year, plus performance bonuses.
The native of Needham, Mass., who replaces the fired Mike Murphy, is the Kings' 15th coach in 21 seasons, and the first to have been born in the United States.
"I think I'm a person who can take them where they want to go," said Ftorek, who made his first move before the start of Wednesday's practice.
At Ftorek's request, assistant coach Phil Myre was fired. The other member of Murphy's staff, assistant coach Bryan Maxwell, was retained.
Ftorek, 35, would not say whom he had in mind to replace Myre.
Ftorek, who coached the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate at New Haven, Conn., said there was nothing unusual about the way he took his time before deciding to make the move west.
First contacted Sunday after Murphy was fired, he didn't agree until Wednesday morning to take the job.
"You want to know who you're getting involved with before you enter into an important venture," he said.
Co-owner Bruce McNall said that the terms of his contract were never an issue with Ftorek. When McNall brought up the terms Tuesday night during a four-hour meeting at a New York restaurant, he said that Ftorek told him: "Whatever you think is fair is fine with me."
Said McNall: "He's a very strange guy. I guess it's better to say he's unique. He's very hard to describe. His concern is with the team and he's very single-minded.
"He's so confident that he's going to produce that he told me he didn't care if his contract was for one year, one day or one week."
General Manager Rogie Vachon will meet today in Boston with Ftorek's agent, Phil McLaughlin.
In a brief meeting Wednesday with the press, Ftorek was guarded.
Asked to describe his coaching style, he said: "I'm me. I don't know what it is. I'm just me. We go out and, if we have problems, we talk it through. And if we're successful, we enjoy it."
Does he believe he can win with the group of players he has inherited?
"Do I ?" he asked. "Well, I certainly hope that (the players) do. They're the ones who have to put the puck in the net or, more importantly, keep the puck out of the net."
The Kings, whose 7-18-4 record is the worst in the National Hockey League, have allowed more goals than any other team in the league.
"We think Robbie is a guy who can turn things around," Vachon said. "I think the players are going to like him, assuming they play the way he wants them to play."
And how's that?
Ftorek said: "If a guy's giving 100%, that's all I can ask of him. And if he isn't, we'll deal with it. That's all."