The Los Angeles Kings have relieved head coach Terry Murray of his duties, and replaced him for the interim with assistant coach John Stevens, according to NHL.com. Murray had coached the Kings since 2008-09.
This move did not come as a surprise to many, as the Kings were recognized as an underperforming squad across the league. The Kings defense, anchored by Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, is their strength and has not performed poorly. They currently rank seventh in the NHL in goals-against. Murray has been known as somewhat of a defensive coaching wizard. It was certainly not the defense itself which led to his ouster.
Their offense however, has been sorely lacking. L.A. has managed only 64 goals to this point, landing them at second-to-last in the NHL, ahead of only the ever-struggling New York Islanders. That just won’t cut it with the amount of talent the Kings currently have. Playing since December 1 without offensive powerhouse Mike Richards has certainly not helped this situation.
Among all Kings coaches, Murray ranks third in wins with 139 and first in winning percentage with a .560 mark.
Did the Kings brass make the right move here? Only time will tell. A change was certainly needed to enliven this talented bunch.
The Kings will next face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in Beantown. As tough a matchup as they could get, given their current struggles. Their performance against Boston will let us know if this change has awoken the talent dormant within this team.