All Philly, all the time.
The Kings aren't quite a branch office of the Flyers, but evidence is mounting as they will introduce Terry Murray today as their 22nd head coach at a news conference at the team's practice facility in El Segundo. He succeeds Marc Crawford, who was fired June 10. The Crawford era lasted two losing seasons.
The road to Murray wound through Philadelphia.
Murray, who has been an assistant with the Flyers the last four seasons, worked with Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi and once coached Ron Hextall, now the Kings' assistant GM, in Philadelphia. Lombardi was a pro scout for Philadelphia after he was fired by the Sharks during the 2002-03 season.
Murray's three previous head coaching positions were with Washington, Philadelphia and Florida. Under Murray, the Capitals reached the conference finals and the Flyers made the Stanley Cup finals in 1997, losing to Detroit.
The interview process started with Lombardi first talking with Kings' associate coach Mike Johnston about the head coaching position. He was intrigued by junior coach Peter DeBoer, who ended up being hired by Florida. Ultimately, it was all about familiarity and Lombardi spoke to Flyers front-office executives about Murray at the NHL Entry Draft last month in Ottawa.
Lombardi thought that Murray was the best fit for a Kings team in the midst of a long-and-winding rebuilding process and seemingly getting younger by the day. "He's a good teacher," Lombardi said in an interview Tuesday.
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Coaching record of new Kings Coach Terry Murray; career record is 360-277-89-11 (.556):
*--* SEASON TEAM W-L-T-OL PTS FIN 1989-90 Washington 18-14-2 38 3rd 1990-91 Washington 37-36-7 81 3rd 1991-92 Washington 45-27-8 98 2nd 1992-93 Washington 43-34-7 93 2nd 1993-94 Washington 20-23-4 44 3rd 1994-95 Philadelphia 28-16-4 60 1st 1995-96 Philadelphia 45-24-13 103 1st 1996-97 Philadelphia 45-24-13 103 2nd 1998-99 Florida 30-34-18 78 2nd 1999-00 Florida 43-27-6-6 98 2nd 2000-01 Florida 6-18-7-6 24 3rd *--*