I was singing in the tub when I heard the news. I was thinking about Terry Murray all day as I was cranking it to Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch" but, when I heard the news that I thought would never come, the song, fittingly enough, switched to "He's Gone". Okay, it's "She's Gone" but who really cares at this point? What's important is that Terry Murray is no longer the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings and more relieved I cannot be.
As you have probably already witnessed from my negative tones lately, I had my strong doubts that general manager Dean Lombardi would fire Murray, despite the team's recent slide with what seems to have been a case of the players simply tuning out the coach.
I will give credit where credit is due and thank Murray for what he's done. He coached Los Angeles to a franchise-record 46 wins two years in a row and has helped develop the young talent into what it is today. Unfortunately, I cannot say anything positive beyond that. I don't want to seem insensitive and say, "It's been real, now there's the door," but that's exactly how I feel so there's no use sugar-coating it.
There's an unwritten rule in sports that when a general manager defends his coach, it translates to said coach getting fired the next week. When I heard Lombardi pointing fingers at the players and not the coach regarding Los Angeles' current losing streak, I was livid. Beyond that anger, though, was a trace of optimism - and that's why, as the old saying goes, it pays to be positive. Actually, before I said, I've never heard that saying but hey, no time like the present to start something new - am I right?
So, with Murray out, John Stevens is in as he has been named the interim head coach. I don't know the interim tag will eventually be removed or if Stevens is the right fit in Los Angeles but, at this point, anything is better than what we've had and, quite frankly, Stevens had proven himself to be a solid coach when he was in Philadelphia so let's see how this goes. After all, Dean Lombardi proved me wrong so I may as well give him the benefit of the doubt.
For a couple of weeks, I have just lost interest in watch the Kings' games and that is very sad to say considering how closely I've watched this team lo these many years. But it's a new day and a new sense of optimism and there's no challenge better than facing off against the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
Thank you for everything, Terry Murray and good luck. John Stevens, welcome aboard!
Photo: Courtesy of Gene J. Puskar/Getty Images