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Lowly Blues hire Murray as coach

December 12, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The St. Louis Blues, last in the NHL standings again despite a change in ownership and several player upgrades, fired coach Mike Kitchen on Monday night and replaced him with former Kings coach Andy Murray.

Blues President John Davidson told the Associated Press that Murray received a long-term contract after negotiations in New York on Sunday. Murray was fired by the Kings in March.

"We realize we're a team that's got a long way to go," Davidson said. "We just felt we needed to take a step like this to move forward."

Davidson said he wanted Kitchen, hired on an interim basis in February 2004 when Joel Quenneville was fired, to stay with the organization. But he said it was time to make a change.

The Blues were 21-46-15 last season, in Kitchen's only full campaign as head coach, finishing with an NHL-low 57 points and missing the playoffs for the first time since 1979.

The Blues are 7-17-4 with 18 points this season and have lost seven in a row. Davidson said Murray would be on the bench tonight at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Murray is the Kings' all-time leader with 215 coaching victories and 480 games but was let go with 12 games to go last season.

The U.S. Coast Guard's aerial search for the daughter of hockey great Bob Gainey was suspended Monday night in Nova Scotia, three days after she was washed overboard in the Atlantic during a storm while working on a sailing ship bound for the Caribbean.

Laura Gainey was on the deck of the tall ship Picton Castle on Friday night when a large wave swept her overboard. Petty Officer Larry Chambers said the U.S. Coast Guard's search about 475 miles off Cape Cod was on hold, but the Picton Castle would continue looking for her.

The 25-year-old daughter of the Montreal Canadiens' general manager was thrown from the 180-foot boat Friday night without a lifejacket.

The water temperature in that part of the mid-Atlantic is about 68 degrees. The U.S. Coast Guard said Gainey, a strong swimmer wearing protective clothing, probably could survive for about 36 hours.

MISCELLANY

Woods, Nike

announce new deal

Nike signed golfer Tiger Woods to a new endorsement contract, his agent and Nike said.

Details were not disclosed.

Woods, 30, signed a five-year, $40-million agreement with Nike when he turned pro in 1996, then a five-year, $100-million agreement in 2001.

First-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was "horsing around" on top of a moving golf cart when he fell off and broke his left wrist, his team told the Associated Press.

The version clarifies what happened during the celebrity tournament in Lecanto, Fla., one day after the initial account from Hendrick Motorsports implied that the Nextel Cup champion had fallen out of the cart.

That account backs up the Citrus County (Fla.) Chronicle, whose reporter said Johnson was sprawled across the top of the cart Friday as it headed toward the 16th hole when his playing partner hit a berm, throwing Johnson several feet.

"Jimmie was horsing around and was on top of the golf cart when he fell off," spokeswoman Kristine Curley said. "He wasn't trying to deceive anyone and is sorry if anyone believes he was being untruthful."

The injury, to his non-shifting hand, will prevent him from driving for at least four weeks. He is expected to be ready for the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.

FC Dallas assistant Steve Morrow was promoted to head coach of the MLS team.

Morrow, 36, replaces Colin Clarke, whose contract wasn't renewed after FC Dallas lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.

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