SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
It was difficult for Terry Murray to sit back
and watch the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley
On the one hand, he was thrilled for a great
collection of players whom he coached for the
parts of four seasons he was the bench boss in
On the other hand though, it was difficult to
see them hoist the trophy without his presence.
After all, he did coach those Kings for the first
29 games of last season before he was let go.
In a move that was more about stirring the Kings
players out of their early season doldrums, Murray
was replaced by Darryl Sutter, who went on to
lead the Kings to an unexpected championship run
as the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed.
But that is far from an indicator that Murray
isn’t a top quality NHL-caliber coach.
He’s been a head coach in the NHL for 1,012
games compiling a record of 499-383-89-41 and
his teams have reached the playoffs in 11 of the
13 seasons he finished as a coach. He also reached
the Final once – in 1997 as coach of the
To go along with that impressive record, Murray,
who turns 62 Friday, spent nine seasons as an
NHL assistant coach, more evidence that hockey
people believe Murray has a lot to offer a team.
It wouldn’t have surprised if Murray looked
to latch on with another NHL team after being
let go by the Kings.
Instead, he returned home… again.
For the fifth time in his 42-year professional
hockey career, Murray is back in the Flyers organization,
this time as head coach of the AHL affiliate Adirondack
“I’ll always remember coming to the
Flyers organization from the [California] Seals,”
Murray said Sunday after watching the conclusion
of the Flyers prospect development camp. “I
was grateful I got drafted by the Seals but they
were clearly a team with no success. Coming to
the Flyers, a team that had just won two Stanley
Cups, and coming into that camp, the players and
the people around the team welcomed me and made
me feel comfortable.
“The coaching staff spent time with me,
and talked to me and were helpful to me to make
me a better hockey player. I’ll always remember
that. That’s why I want to give something
back now to this organization. I wouldn’t
do this for any other team in the league. This
is the Philadelphia Flyers and it’s only
because of them that I am here today working with
the minor league team. I want to help the young
players and develop that blood line that is so
important to this organization.”
After Murray first arrived in Philly, He played
a few seasons in the organization before being
traded to the Detroit Red Wings in February, 1977
(along with Steve Coates, Bob Ritchie and Dave
Kelly) for Mike Korney and Rick LaPointe.
The Flyers re-acquired him from the Red Wings
in November of that year in exchange for cash
considerations and he stayed with the team until
he was claimed by the Capitals in the 1981 waiver
The 1981-82 season was his last as a player, and
he immediately got into the coaching ranks, working
as an assistant for the Capitals for five seasons.
His first head-coaching job came in 1988 when
he was handed the reins of the Baltimore Skipjacks,
the Capitals AHL affiliate at the time. He lasted
just one-and-one-half seasons in the AHL before
getting the call to coach the Capitals.
He hasn’t coached in the AHL since…
“It’s going to be a great challenge,”
said Murray, who except for a brief, 28-game stint
with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL in 1994,
has been coaching or scouting at the NHL level
for the last 24 years. “The young kids are
such an important part of any organization right
now. You have to get to them and bring them into
the culture and mold them the right way to play
the style of game the organization wants.
“There are so many young players in the
NHL that are a little bit better, but the same
age, and they need to learn a lot of the same
things – how to be good pros and do things
the right way every day. I’m going to approach
coaching the Phantoms the same as if it were an
NHL team because that’s the kind of attention
that’s needed today.”
Part of that process will be teaching the affiliate
players to play within the same system that is
being used at the NHL level.
“The consistency within the organization
is very important and that’s something that
Peter [Laviolette] and I have to sit down and
discuss later this summer so that we’re
on the same page. That way when there are call-ups
– and there will be – the kid is comfortable
and instinctive in his game and not hesitant thinking
what he should do in a particular situation. “
One other person that Murray will have to work
with in close concert is Ian Laperriere, the newly
minted director of player development for the
“We’re going to have to have a relationship
that begins now and we’ll have to work at
it real hard to make sure we are in line with
each other,” Murray said. “He’s
bringing information from the organization. He’s
the liaison from management to Glens Falls. We’re
going to be spending a lot of time in conversation
coming up with ideas on how to push these players
to become NHL-ready as soon as possible.
While Murray will be a great asset at the AHL-level
for the Flyers, long-term his goal remains to
return to coaching in the NHL some day.
“I’m a coach and I always want to
be in the NHL because that’s where it’s
at,” he said. “But, I’ve had
more than 1,300 games in the NHL, so this is exciting
for me. It’s about teaching. It’s
about working with young people and a way for
me to finally give back.”