Coach Terry Murray. What to do with him? It seems fans are divided on this issue. You got the “Fire Murray!” fans who want change now and you have the “Leave Murray Alone” fans who are willing to see the season through. I’ve been right smack in the middle. I had to ask myself, why the flip flop? Where do I stand? So I decided to put the points down on paper and make an educated decision. Or at least I will try to keep all emotion out of it.
Speaking of emotion, let’s make fun of TM for a minute:
Is your team winning ? This is the face you will get.
Controversy? How about this face.
Losing? Winning? Does it matter to him?
Really, the face thing does not bother me. Its just weird and entertaining to see that there is no change. This does not go in either my positive or negative points list.
* Brought the team to two sucessful seasons
* Made the playoffs past two seasons
* Kings play good-quality defensive hockey
* Mixes lines too often, no chemistry develops
* Knocked out of the playoffs in the first round past two seasons
* Not a very motivational coach
* Offensive play is worse
The above, both positive and negative, are really not enough to fire or keep a coach. It all comes down to what is actually happening during the season and at the end. We are near our cap for the first time and we have new players traded here to go all the way. Unfortunately, the new players have not meshed together as well as we would have hoped by now. Is that the players fault or the coaches? Hubbypat coached for 8 years. Yes, it was youth league hockey, but he must have learned a thing or two and he is adamant that the coaching is not the total fault. Ok. So its partially the coaching and partially the players that need to pick it up. I can go with that.
Now what to do about it? You can’t leave it like that. I guess when you listen to the fans and players and blogger and commentators, etc. It all comes down to it doesn’t matter whose fault it is right now, but do we leave it and hope it gets better? Do we leave it and if we still get knocked out in the first round do we make a change then?
I’ve made my decision.
It all comes together for me in this interview that Murray had with Hammond. The rest of the article is here.
Hammond talked to Murray about the 5-on-5 and how the Kings were in the bottom of the league on even strength scoring, and in fact had actually gone down in goals per game compared to last season. This is the part that helped me make my decision:
Murray said, “We need that 5-on-5 scoring. We’ve talked about that over the past three years, that it has to be significantly better. That’s the same position that we’re in today. It has to be significantly better. I think it starts with our shot attitude, mentality. We’re 27th in the league today. Pucks to the net, I think we’re averaging just a touch above 27 per game, and that has to be the start of it. Get more pucks to the net and better traffic. We need more around the net. I thought, the one thing out of the three games we just played, is that we probably let the goalie see too many pucks that were coming toward him, and making it look a little too easy for him. So, net traffic. The other part of it, if you go back to the end of last season, and the offseason, we talked about the power play, and what it is that we wanted to see. My comment, at that time, was to get some movement going. It’s no different now, 5-on-5″.
Play close attention to the bolded parts. Murray is esentially saying that he sees the same problems over the past three years! That they have talked about it for 3 years! That the problem is the same now as it was then!
Guess what? This isn’t about how bad or good a coach Murray is. This is about when do you make a change. Murray has brought a lot to this team and they have made the playoffs. I think we should go through the season with our Coach Murray at the helm. We have made moves for better players, what will they bring to the table as well? Remember, a hockey team is a collaborative effort. It is the type of sport that cannot win cups if you have one or two great players. Or even a great coach. It takes EVERYBODY to do their part. If at the end of the season, the Kings are still not moving forward to the next round in the playoffs, then it is definately time to step up in the coaching department. We will have run our course. It will not be because no one has done its part, but because they have all done everything they can.
A new coach, like new players, will bring their “everything” to the team. And maybe their “everything” is more than what we have now.