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Kings Notebook (Nov. 22)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Terry Murray's Kings will face his brother Bryan Murray's Senators tonight.  Bryan is the GM in Ottawa.

OTTAWA -- Sitting in the Scotiabank Place seats, for today's morning skates, was Bryan Murray. On the ice was his younger brother Terry. In the arena tonight will be a handful of their relatives and friends from Shawville, a tiny town of less than 2,000 in southwestern Quebec.

It's only about a 75-minute drive from Shawville, the Murrays' hometown, to Ottawa, so it was a homecoming for Terry Murray as his Kings prepared to face the Ottawa Senators.

Terry Murray didn't make much of the rivalry between him and Bryan, who is the Senators' GM. This is old hat for them. Terry joined the coaching ranks in the early 1980s, when Bryan hired him as an assistant coach in Washington, but since then the brothers have often been on opposite sides.

The Murrays have eight other siblings and their mother, Rhoda, who turns 91 on Wednesday, will be watching at home tonight. Terry Murray was asked if his mother would have a favorite tonight.

``Oh yeah, she has favorites. There are 10 of them,'' Murray said with a laugh. ``Everybody is a favorite. I think that's why she doesn't come to the games anymore. It gets to be too hard, whenever she's sitting in the stands watching.
But she will be watching the game on TV.''

Terry Murray played three seasons of junior hockey in Ottawa with the 67's of what was then known as the Ontario Hockey Association. The town of Shawville, listed as having fewer than 2,000 residents, will be watching both of its native sons tonight.

``It's one of those games (in which) I think you're looking for a tie, but I'm looking for a win,'' Murray said with a laugh.

The Kings will go with the same lineup tonight, and with Jonathan Quick in goal opposing Ottawa's Pascal Leclaire.

After Saturday's game at Boston, Murray indicated that he might change his short-term goalie plan and give more games to Quick, but Murray said his plan remains to start backup Jonathan Bernier in Wednesday's game against Montreal.

Bernier is a native of Laval, Quebec, which is approximately a half-hour outside of Montreal.

``At the end of the day, most importantly,'' Murray said, ``is that we have both goaltenders fresh and ready to go as we get to the critical part of the year, which is every game, but right in the last quarter of the season. Hopefully we're in playoff contention and have a goaltender ready to go.''

The Kings have failed to score on their last 12 power-play chances, dating to Wednesday's home game against Columbus. The Kings finished last season ranked seventh in the NHL in power-play efficiency, but they enter tonight's game ranked 24th, at 14.5 percent.

Asked about getting the power play back on track, Murray said the Kings must get back to basics.

``The power play, to me, it can be simplified and you can have success,'' Murray said. ``When things do go off page on the power play, you're looking to make too many cute plays, too many fancy passes, seam passes, attacking from low too many times. You've got to simplify, get it back up top and simply get the puck to the net from your blue-line crew.

``I know we've talked about that often, and that was the meeting today. You've got to get it to the umbrella and create some screens and create some loose pucks. You start shooting the puck, and the penalty killers have to turn around. They have to face their own goaltender, they have to find pucks and you have the same opportunity, now, to recover and get second and third opportunities. That's where we have to get to.''

One of the Kings' all-time greats, Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, visited the morning skate in Ottawa. Dionne owns and operates and sports-memorabilia store in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Dionne, who totaled 731 goals and 1,040 assists in his NHL career -- including parts of 12 seasons with the KIngs -- said he keeps close track of the Kings these days.

``I'm very happy for them,'' Dionne said. ``They got off to a quick start and they were very impressive last year. They're going to lose a few here and there, but they're most likely going to win more games, which is real nice. The last three years, they have made some headway.

``The only sad thing is that we hear so much about the East Coast teams and the teams in Canada. Sometimes they forget about L.A. I talk to (CBC analyst) Kelly Hrudey, because I know he played in L.A., and I said, `You've got to start talking more about them.' When they do talk about L.A., it's that they have a very good team.''

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