Friday, June 29, 2012

Flyers bring Terry Murray back ... again

At what used to be considered retirement age, Terry Murray is essentially starting over.
One of the most successful of Flyers head coaches, Murray is back for his third (fourth? fifth?...) stint in the employ of the Flyers. He's taken the head coaching job with the AHL affiliate Adirondack Phantoms. But Murray, who turns 62 on July 20, doesn't consider this minor league assignment as a step down or career restart.
"I don’t think there’s a lot of difference there, quite honestly," Murray said of the difference between the NHL and AHL. "Just the last team that I coached in LA, going back four years ago, that was a team that was very, very young. The youngest team in the NHL ... a lot of guys coming in their first year of pro hockey. There’s guys that I coached that put the Stanley Cup over their head this year that had their first goal, their first save, their first pass, their first hit in the NHL. And some guys had their first time in pro hockey.
"I’ve been through it," Murray added. "I’ve been through it with many teams and young players, and I don’t think the approach changes at all with players in the American Hockey League. I’ve been to the American Hockey League myself and I coached in Baltimore, Washington’s farm team. It’s a process, attention to detail and helping these young guys come out and play instinctively and play the game the right way, and build up as a team.”
Murray also has a little National Hockey League experience -- first with the Capitals, then the Flyers, then the Panthers, then the Kings. Took the Flyers to the Cup finals in 1997 and was fired for his efforts. Set a franchise record for victories in a season in Florida. And, as he indicated, he helped develop some of the Kings that played on this year's championship team before being fired last Dec. 12.
Murray has also gone this minor route before. After being fired from the Capitals, he served a brief stint in the International Hockey League in Cincinnati before Bob Clarke hired him to coach the Flyers in 1994. Over the years, Murray has come and gone in Philly several times, serving as a player, team scout (twice), NHL head coach, NHL assistant coach and now minor league head coach for the organization.
He's a winner. He's a pro. And so what if he's a little retro?
"There wasn’t a lot of stuff coming in from the NHL teams after I got fired in LA," Murray said. "The phone rings for about four or five days and then it goes silent, and there was nothing up until (Paul Holmgren) called me.  I took some time to think about it, and I was thinking back over some of the coaches that I’ve played for, and I remember seeing Pat Quinn coach the Canadian world juniors in Ottawa a few years ago. He’s a coach that I have a great deal of respect for. He took a step back and coached junior hockey and did a tremendous job. He got himself back in the NHL, he ended up in Edmonton after that. He’s a guy who loves to coach, and that’s what I am. I’m a hockey coach.  I love to coach. When Paul presented it to me, in the way that he did – coming back to the Flyers in particular was very exciting, and I feel like it’s a great opportunity to work with young players."
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Murray indicated he'll retain Phantoms assistants Kjell Samuelsson, who might be a bit bummed he didn't get the head job, and Riley Cote. ... The Phantoms will play this season in Adirondack, but things are still planned as far as them eventually relocating to a new building in Allentown. ... Also officially hired to a position with the Flyers Friday was Ian Laperriere, who will be director of player development.


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