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Despite Struggling, Murray Sacrifices

November 09, 2000|JIM HODGES

With 1:53 to play Sunday against the New York Islanders, an empty Islander net yawned and Glen Murray had the puck.

He also had Luc Robitaille on the left wing, and sent him the pass. Robitaille will seldom break an eight-game scoring drought more easily.

"He'd been struggling," said Murray, shrugging his shoulders at the suggestion of largess.

Murray had been in a slump too.

"I wasn't playing that well," said Murray, who can call on defense and penalty killing for psychological support when his scoring stick runs out but who knows that his reputation is also that of a scorer, in part because he has 29 goals in two of the last three King seasons.

He had two goals Tuesday night in a 3-3 tie with Phoenix, giving him six in 17 games. That translates into a 25-plus for the season, and he has never had a coach who didn't figure he could score more.

Meeting expectations, particularly his own, is difficult.

"I've been frustrated," said Murray, who hadn't scored in five games before Tuesday night. "I've been a streaky player, with peaks and valleys. I need to be more consistent, to get rid of those valleys."

Murray has been working to adjust to playing on a line with rookie center Steve Reinprecht, himself a scorer, after spending last season and the first 10 games of this one with Bryan Smolinski.

"That takes time," Murray said. "I'm starting to know where Steve is on the ice. I knew where Bryan would be."

Where Murray needs to be is by the net. Both of his goals Tuesday night came on attacks of Phoenix goalie Sean Burke. Murray also has spent time clearing the way for others, setting picks in the crease. Sometimes the puck bounces off him and into the net, sometimes not.

"I've been kind of snake-bit," Murray said. On Tuesday night, he bit back.


vs. Vancouver, 7:30

Fox Sports Net

* Site--Staples Center.

* Radio--KRLA (1110).

* Records--Kings 8-6-3-0, Canucks 8-3-3-1.

* Record vs. Canucks (1999-2000)--2-1-1.

* Update--Finally a chance to see the Sedin twins, identical 20-year-old Swedes everybody has been waiting for. Daniel is No. 22, the left wing with four goals and 10 points. Brother Henrik is No. 33, the center with four goals and eight points. The Canucks were 3-1-1 on the road before Wednesday night's game at the Arrowhead Pond, but come off a 1-1-2 homestand in which they beat Colorado, but were tied by Atlanta. The Kings are unbeaten (3-0-1) in their last four games.

* Tickets--(888) 546-4752.

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