Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/12/11 at 07:56 PM ET
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray has been relieved of his duties and Kings assistant coach John Stevens will assume interim head coach duties, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Murray, 61, began his head coaching tenure with the Kings in 2008-09 and compiled a 139-106-30 regular season record during his time in Los Angeles. Among the franchise’s all-time head coaches Murray ranks third in wins (139), fourth in games coached (275) and first in winning percentage (.560).
Murray reached the 100-win mark faster than any other coach in Kings history. He also helped lead the Kings to the playoffs the past two seasons. The Kings recorded 199 total points from 2009-10 to 2010-11 – the most ever in two consecutive seasons by the franchise. The Kings under Murray also enjoyed 46 wins in 2009-10 and 2010-11, which ties the franchise record for most wins in a season.
In addition to the Kings, Murray has also served as head coach for the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers. His overall record as an NHL head coach is 499-383-130. Murray, who coached in his 1,000th NHL game on November 12 versus Minnesota, ranks 17th all-time in NHL history in wins and 19th all-time in games coached.
Stevens, 45, is in his second season with the Kings organization, having been named a team assistant coach prior to the 2010-11 season. He will be the 23rd head coach (including interim head coaches) in Kings history.
Prior to joining the Kings, Stevens served as the head coach for the Philadelphia Flyers (2006-09) and had a 120-109-34 record, while leading the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008.
The native of Campbellton, New Brunswick, took over as the Flyers head coach on October 22, 2006, after beginning the 2006-07 campaign as the club’s assistant coach. The Flyers were 21-42-11 under Stevens in 2006-07 before having a great turn-around in 2007-08 (the Flyers had an NHL-best 39-point improvement from the year before). Following that season, The Hockey News honored Stevens with their Coach of the Year award.
In 2007-08 the Flyers went 42-29-11 in the regular season and qualified for the playoffs before eliminating Washington in the first round and top-seeded Montreal in the second round. Stevens guided Philadelphia to a 99-point season in 2008-09 (44-27-11) and the team’s second consecutive playoff appearance. He was 13-11-1 to start the 2009-10 campaign before he was relieved of his duties on December 4, 2009. That Flyers club eventually reached the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.
Before his NHL coaching tenure, Stevens was the head coach of the Philadelphia Phantoms (the Flyers’ AHL affiliate) for six years (2000-01 through 2005-06). His Phantoms were 230-181-69, made the playoffs four times and won the Calder Cup Championship in 2005. He also served as an assistant coach with the club in 1998-99 and 1999-00.
Stevens was drafted by the Flyers (third round, 47th overall) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and played parts of five seasons with the Flyers and Hartford Whalers, totaling 10 points (0-10=10) and 48 penalty minutes in 53 NHL regular season games. In 834 career AHL games Stevens, a defenseman, had 186 points (21-167=188), 1,397 penalty minutes and won three Calder Cups: 1988 with Hershey, 1991 with Springfield (served as team captain) and 1998 with the Phantoms (team captain).
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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