EDMONTON — It was as good a way as any to pass a three-plus-hour plane ride from LAX.
Talk about the job.
Get an idea of what the boss wants.
The plan was to play Jamie Storr in goal tonight against the Oilers, then come back with Stephane Fiset on Sunday at Vancouver.
"I reserve the right to change my mind," King Coach Andy Murray says.
Fiset's play in his first two games since recovering from a knee injury is the sort of thing that can make Murray change his mind, which is no small task. He gets an idea and generally stays with it, but he's also a bottom-line coach, and the bottom line is Fiset gave up two goals in each of his victories, including a 5-2 win over Dallas on Thursday night.
Sandwiched between them was a 4-0 loss to the Mighty Ducks with Storr in goal.
"Stephane has played really well since he came back," Murray said Friday.
Unsaid was that Storr has given up an average of four goals a game for his last six games.
But . . . "we'll stay with Jamie tonight and Stephane on Sunday," Murray said.
In the land of What-Have-You-Done-for-Me-Lately, Murray looks at Fiset, but he can't get Storr's November out of his memory.
All Storr did was go 6-0-2 on a run in which he had a 1.71 goals-against average. He righted the Kings' ship just in time, which was probably justice because it was foundering with him only a couple of weeks earlier.
Thank Shannon and Jim Storr for the assists.
Jamie--Shannon's brother, Jim's son--had been benched after Phoenix put four pucks past him in only 11 shots of a 6-5 win on Oct. 15 that Steve Passmore finished up.
The next morning Storr read a sentence in this space that implored Fiset to heal faster and return to claim the No. 1 job he had lost when he suffered a strained knee ligament in an exhibition game on Sept. 22.
Storr talked with goalie consultant Don Edwards, who told him not to take what he reads so seriously and pointed out the various character flaws of those who write about games.
Then he told Storr to stop more pucks.
By that day's end, Storr learned Passmore was the new starting goalie.
That lasted two games, and Storr was back in the nets by week's end in Dallas. He stayed there 17 games in a row, turning in an 8-5-4 record with a 2.09 goals-against average and 0.906 saves percentage, until Fiset had healed sufficiently to beat Minnesota, 3-2, a week ago.
Storr just needed a kick.
His brother gave him one.
"I learned to realize that now I have an opportunity to not only be a part of a winning team, but to actually be a part of it, not just be sitting on the sidelines cheering," Storr said quietly.
The teacher was Shannon Storr, who was just doing what he does for a living, which is teach in Ontario.
Shannon is a frustrated hockey winger who spent minor-league time in Texas, then decided teaching wasn't so bad. Perhaps because of that frustration, he saw a brother blowing the opportunity he never had. This was one student that needed to do his homework.
While his brother was sitting in Nashville, then in St. Louis, feeling sorry for himself and angry with the world, the newspaper and television industries and various coaches, Shannon called to let him know that it was time to grow up. Who knows how many opportunities like this will come along, to be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL? It was what you said you wanted all along, Shannon said, and that now it's here, you're blowing it and it's nobody's fault but your own.
Oh, and stop more pucks.
"My brother is supportive, but he's also one to take charge," Storr said. "My family knows that I have a lot of opportunities, golden opportunities to make the most out of myself as both a person and a player. That's all they want."
The same message, though toned down somewhat, came from Jim Storr.
"My brother is the more vocal one of the two," Jamie said. "My dad's played both the role of my father and my mother since she passed away. He's more supportive and is there to say, 'You know you've always got a home. You've always got someone there for you.' "
Storr's mother, Keiko, died four years ago of cancer, but he knows that her tone would be much like Shannon's. "She never pulled any punches," Storr said.
He listened and went to work. Seldom more than an indifferent practice player, the kind that infuriates coaches, Storr began to sweat in workouts because he didn't know when he would get back into a game.
Passmore tied Nashville, 1-1, stopping 34 shots, then was bombed in St. Louis in a 7-1 loss.
Storr went back into the lineup in Dallas on Oct. 21. Shortly thereafter, he went on the 6-0-2 run that still spins Murray's thought processes.
"It puts a lot of the onus on your goaltending, but there isn't a coach in the league that will tell you anything different," Murray said. "You have to have good goaltending to win. That's the bottom line. That's why we're winning."