These suggestions may seem a little embryonic and, let's be honest, they probably are, especially considering that Terry Murray is still the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings. Having said that, there are at least a few options out there for a head coach and one of those the Kings don't have to look far with.
Mark Morris (pictured right with goaltender Matt Lopes) who has been the head coach of Los Angeles' AHL affiliate in Manchester for the last five seasons, looks like a viable option. I must confess that I don't know very much about Morris or his coaching ability but - and I've said this before - but at this point, how could the Kings do much worse even without a star-caliber coach?
In his first season with the Manchester Monarchs, Morris guided the team to a franchise-record 51 wins and 110 points. Prior to this season, Morris has compiled a record of 200-131-16-23 as the Monarchs' bench boss while guiding them to the Eastern Conference Final twice (2007, 2010).
Morris, 53, has instilled a winning attitude into his club while helping players like Jonathan Quick, Scott Parse, Davis Dewiske and even former Kings like Teddy Purcell and Erik Ersberg make the transition into the National Hockey League.
Mark Morris may have never coached a game in the NHL from what he's done in Manchester, it's obvious how positive an influence he is on not only the young prospects but the veterans as well. Andrei Loktionov and Slava Voynov, to name just a couple, are flourishing in the A and Morris' leadership is a big part of that. The same thing can be said for Oscar Moller and Bud Holloway, who each enjoyed success in Manchester before moving on to Sweden this past summer.
It certainly is a significant jump from the AHL to the NHL but Voynov and Loktionov, for two, have already established themselves with the Kings during their brief stays with the big club so why not give Mark Morris a chance, assuming he's willing to, of course?
Prior to his time in Manchester, Morris served 14 years as the head coach of Clarkson University of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. While at Clarkson, Morris guided his team to ten consecutive 20-win seasons. His team appeared in the ECAC tournament each season under his tutelage, five ECAC League titles, three ECAC tournament titles, nine NCAA appearances and one Frrozen Four appearance. Morris was also named ECAC Coach of the Year in 1991 and again in 2001.
Considering the thought of Mark Morris as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Kings may be just that: a thought. Nonetheless, it shows who's out there when the time comes for a possibly coaching change. For all I know, Morris may not have what it takes to coach at the NHL level but like the old adage goes, "You'll never know until you try."
Dan Byslma of the Pittsburgh Penguins made the transition a successful one as he guided his new team to their first Stanley Cup title in 18 years. Bruce Boudreau also made a successful transition by quickly turning the Washington Capitals into a perennial Cup contender. Although Boudreau, unlike Bylsma, has yet to win a Stanley Cup, no one can argue the vast improvement of the on-ice quality the Capitals have produced over the last few years, even if it hasn't equated to a championship.
So, there you have it. Why not give Mark Morris a chance? How could the Kings possibly do any worse? Not only would the Kings have a coach they can tune back in but they can have some fun and rediscover their chemistry en route to their third-straight playoff appearance and then some.
Photo: Courtesy of ShredBoston