Terry Murray got an early birthday present – an NHL coaching job.
The Los Angeles Kings hired Murray, who has coached 737 regular-season NHL games but hasn't been an NHL bench boss since 2000-01, as their coach on Thursday, opting to go with experience to help develop a young roster.
Murray, who turns 58 Sunday, guided Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup Final in 1997. He's been an assistant coach with the Flyers since 2003-04, but hasn't been in charge of an NHL team since being let go by Florida after the Panthers started the 2000-01 season with a 6-23-7 record.
"We are very pleased that Terry has accepted this challenge," Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said. "He has a wide range of coaching experience and he understands the importance of teaching, which is critical to the building process."
Murray has a 360-288-89 regular-season record and a 46-43 postseason mark during stints with Philadelphia, Washington and Florida. His brother, Bryan Murray, is the general manager of the Ottawa Senators.
"I am very excited about this opportunity," Murray said. "This will be my biggest challenge as a coach. There is a lot of work ahead and it will take a collective effort to execute the plan we have in place. I am looking forward to training camp and to getting the process under way."
Murray spent parts of eight seasons in the NHL and WHL as a defenseman before starting his coaching career as an assistant with Washington in 1983. After 1½ seasons as a coach in the American Hockey League, he took over the Capitals during the 1989-90 season. They reached the Eastern Conference Finals before being eliminated.
The Caps made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the next two seasons, but didn't advance past the second round, and Murray was fired 47 games into the 1993-94 season.
Philadelphia hired Murray at the start of the next season, and the Flyers reached the conference finals, the conference semifinals, and the Stanley Cup Final in his three seasons. But after the Flyers were swept by Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final, Murray was fired.
Florida then hired Murray as general manager, and in his second season, he fired coach Doug MacLean and Murray took over. In his two full seasons with the Panthers, they missed the Playoffs once and lost in the first round.
After being let go by Florida, Murray worked as a scout for the Flyers before becoming an assistant coach in 2003.
As an NHL defenseman, Murray played in 302 NHL regular-season games over eight seasons with Washington, Philadelphia, the Detroit Red Wings and the California Golden Seals/California Seals, who originally drafted him in the seventh round (No. 88) in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft.
He had 80 points (four goals, 76 assists) and 199 penalty minutes during his NHL career and added two goals and two assists for four points in 18 career Playoff games.
Crawford was fired June 10 after two years on the job, during which he coached the Kings to a 59-84-21 record. Los Angeles had 71 points last season, tied with Tampa Bay for the fewest in the NHL.
Author: John Kreiser | NHL.com Columnist