Thursday, July 17, 2008

LA Kings Have A Coach

It is a little bit beyond the midpoint of July. Free agent signing has been underway for almost three weeks. Most of the good ones are gone. The draft and the trades that accompany it are long over. Many team's rosters for next season are getting set. The Los Angeles Kings have finally got around to picking a new coach. That is something that they should have done about a month ago, but they are finally doing it now. It is something I have criticized them for. A well run team would have had the coach on board to provide input in the roster decisions that the Kings have already made.

The new Los Angeles Kings coach is Terry Murray. Murray is a veteran coach with 737 NHL games experience with the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers. He is an unspectacular choice who likely won't give LA any advantage in coaching most nights, but they could do worse. He is typical of the kind of coach you hire if you wait this long. He is an NHL veteran who is happy to get a head coaching job with any suitor. He has never been considered one of the better coaches in the NHL. He is basically your replacement level coach.

Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi and Terry Murray already have a relationship. They both worked in the Philadelphia Flyers organization before coming to LA. Lombardi was a scout in the organization and Murray a scout and later an assistant coach. If Murray was Lombardi's first choice, there is no good reason he couldn't have hired him a month ago. It would have been better for the organization. If Murray is a last resort choice that Lombardi settled for because he was too slow to hire the coaches he wanted, it is already a bad situation.

Los Angeles has been slow to do anything this summer. They have not added any free agents. They traded away Lubomir Visnovsky and Mike Cammalleri for questionable return. They look like they could have a very poor season. One in which both Lombardi and Murray could get fired. They currently have the lowest payroll in the NHL ($29 million and change). Given the salary floor of $40.7 million, they have to add a significant amount of expense to the team. I do not see who is out there that will help them spend that money in any wise manner. Likely the team will be forced to overpay some mediocre free agents or trade for expensive castoffs from other teams in salary cap trouble. This is no way to build a competitive franchise.

The Los Angeles Kings finally have a coach. They waited a long time before selecting Terry Murray, a man they could have hired long ago. They also seem to be waiting a long time before signing free agents. Maybe if Los Angeles is hiring a coach now, they may get around to the free agent market in August. This is a poorly run team that should finish well back of the playoffs.

Here is TSN's story on the Los Angeles coach hiring.

1) We’ve already sent in our application to sit in the press box 82 times as a healthy scratch for 10 million to ‘help them out’ of that salary floor problem. ; )

2) Agree that Murray is not the guy we'd of chosen to lead the Kings, and what in hell took so long!
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