The Dallas Stars handed the Los Angeles Kings their fourth consecutive loss Saturday evening, and that proved to be the tipping point for upper management, which fired head coach Terry Murray late Monday afternoon.
Murray is the fourth coach fired this season and the second in the Pacific Division, following Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks.
Some had speculated that when the ax eventually fell on Murray, Carlyle would replace him in Los Angeles, but instead the team decided to go with an interim solution and named assistant John Stevens as interim head coach.
And while Murray may bear the brunt of this news, general manager Dean Lombardi did not hold back when he said the blame also fell on the Kings players.
Doughty isn't nearly the player he was two seasons ago and isn't contributing enough offensively. Dustin Penner should have more than two goals and Justin Williams more than four. Anze Kopitar should have outgrown his streakiness. The third and fourth lines need to establish identities. And it's long past time to hear from Jarret Stoll.
Lombardi didn't mince words Monday in telling players they bore as much responsibility as Murray.
"It's simple. It sounds cliche-like but it's true. Ultimately the message is that they're accountable, and unfortunately the coach has to pay the price," Lombardi said. "But make no mistake that they're the ones who are accountable for this."
After the jump, the Stars try to find their legs before tonight's game against the New York Rangers, more on the firing of Terry Murray and Yaroslavl Lokomotiv returns to the ice.
- Sunday was a long travel day spanning three time zones and an entire continent, so Stars coach Glen Gulutzan tried to get it out of his team's legs Monday with a fairly lengthy, pacey practice. [DallasNews.com]
- All the notes and numbers about tonight's game you could even dream of needing. [ESPN Dallas]
- Like we posted earlier, Adam Burish and his camo cast will be at the Stars official watching parting today at Frankie's in Dallas. There is also a party with free pizza at Frankie's in Fort Worth, but Burish will not make his way across the Metroplex for that one. [Defending Big D]
- My favorite elf is back in the NHL just in time for Christmas. Antti Miettinen, who had been playing for Ak-Bars Kazan in the KHL, signed a two-year, one-way deal worth $1.5 million per year with a no-movement clause with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since he's played overseas this season, he's currently on waivers, but with that contract, I think Tampa is safe. [Tampa Bay Lightning]
- John Stevens was named interim coach of the Kings after Murray was let go, but many around the team don't expect it to be a permanent solution. Here's the first time I saw Darryl Sutter's name floated. [LA Kings Insider]
- And Puck Daddy follows up on that with a nice post how it might not be Sutter himself but rather a coach of his ilk. [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: I do hope with all the microphones HBO has around for their 24/7 series, Steve Ott's mouth makes some sort of cameo on the final cut. [CBC.ca]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: I know, I know, we'll get more than enough Brad Richards commentary during the game tonight. But I thought this was a nice and balanced look with good quotes from him as to the fact that he regretted leaving but was tired of having the money issues that came with being run by the lenders. And that's fair enough, at least for me. [ESPN New York]
- Around the Pacific Division: In a trade that had way too many parts for the caliber of player's involved, the New Jersey Devils traded center Rod Pelley, defenseman Mark Fraser and a seventh-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Kurtis Foster and minor league goaltender Timo Pielmeier. [Fire & Ice]
- Lokomotiv Yaroslavl returned to the ice on Monday in Russia's equivalent to the AHL, winning it's opener 5-1. [Puck Daddy]
- For today's video, I present to you our own Christmas miracle, Trevor Daley sans hat.