Kings Head Coach Andy Murray made more history on December 21st when he notched career win No. 200 behind the Kings bench following a 5-2 victory in Calgary. The milestone victory for Murray adds more to a Kings coaching portfolio that began when the club named him the franchise's 19th head coach in 1999. Murray already owns the club record for wins, games coached and longest tenure.
Not bad for a "high school coach," a media-label that came with Murray to Los Angeles after the career coach spent a season coaching his son at Faribault, Minnesota, while waiting for the right NHL job to open. That perfect position ultimately came to Murray in the form of the Los Angeles Kings, and with the club challenging for a Pacific Division title, Murray recently sat with lakings.com.
lakings.com What did that 200th win mean to you?
Coach Murray "I did not really know about it until after the game, which I guess is pretty funny. I have not given it a lot of thought. It was beating Calgary that night and getting us two more points for the standings."
lakings.com The Kings have had some good assistant coaches during your tenure as head coach here. How much have they contributed to that number?
Coach Murray "Obviously, I delegate a lot of authority. Having been an assistant before, I know how important that is. They need to be recognized and appreciated. I am responsible for bringing out the best in our assistant coaches so that we can go to the team with the best ideas. These wins would not have been possible without having good people here."
lakings.com Having been an assistant before, is that a position that is really "unsung" so to speak?
Coach Murray "There is no question that the assistant coaches on teams do not get proper recognition. That is why I recognize our coaches so much. Each guy has a job description and the players know those and who is responsible for each. The players know how important they are."
lakings.com What makes a good coach?
Coach Murray "Someone who has a lot of energy; someone who cares for people; and someone who is prepared on an everyday basis."
lakings.com What are your impressions of this Kings team here as we head into January?
Coach Murray "I think I can probably only answer that question in April. But we have played hard. It is such a tough league. Every team and every game is a battle."
lakings.com Has anything about this Kings team or season surprised you at all?
Coach Murray "Some might point to our goaltending duo but to me the surprise is that we have not been better on our special teams. It has been disappointing."
lakings.com The team has called up many players from Manchester this season yet the Kings continue to win. Why do you think that is?
Coach Murray "I think it is a product of our organizational structure. Our coaches coach the same way in Manchester as we do in LA. When we do have an injury, they are prepared. We have had numerous summer camps and that has helped lead to some of our overall depth."
lakings.com Having been instrumental in these development camps, is it especially gratifying to you as a coach to see the progress made by some of these players?
Coach Murray "Without question. You develop a bond with a number of guys who have been in your organization for a few years. George Parros is a great example of that, as are Noah Clarke, Petr Kanko, Mike Cammalleri and Denis Grebeshkov. Some of our guys have overcome a lot of long odds to get to where they are at now. To see them succeeding is indeed gratifying."
lakings.com Injuries are a part of the game. Currently, eight guys are out due to various ailments. Does it get to be a concern to you at all?
Coach Murray "You never want to play without any of your guys. You want to play with every guy you have. I don't really have much time to think about injuries, however. I am too busy worrying about the next game."