PITTSBURGH -- File this under the bizarre file: According to a report from Renaud Lavoie at RDS, the Flyers may go back in time and hire Terry Murray as the next head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms. The team has been without a head coach since firing Joe Paterson -- inexplicably, by the way -- back on May 22.
Murray coached the Flyers from 1994 to 1997 and was fired after the team was swept by Detroit in the '97 Finals. He ripped into the team following a huge loss Game 3 of that series -- the infamous "choking situation" -- and found himself out of a job as a result. Murray served as a scout for the Flyers the following year before the Florida Panthers hired him as head coach in 1998.
Most recently, Murray was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings. He was fired in December and replaced in the interim by John Stevens, who then yielded to Darryl Sutter about a week later. That all worked out pretty well for L.A. in the long run.
Only the Oilers and Capitals have head coaching vacancies, so it's not like Murray has a ton of options at the NHL level right now. But he definitely wants to remain in coaching, so perhaps an AHL gig in an organization he feels comfortable in is the next best option.
Coaching in the NHL and coaching in the AHL are different things, of course. In Adirondack, Murray will be responsible for molding young players into something that can be used by the Flyers at the NHL level. We know he's certainly a smart hockey mind and he's a capable coach, but how would he handle this new role?
Tough to say -- he's only coached three years at a level lower than the NHL. From 1988 to 1990 he was the head coach of the AHL's Baltimore Skipjacks and he served half a season as the head coach of the IHL's Cincinnati Cyclones during the 1993-94 season. Not a ton of minor league experience here.
The other concern is that Murray coaches a much more conservative, defensive style than Peter Laviolette, and the Phantoms had made strides in the past under Paterson to play a similar style to the parent club. It helps make the transition pretty seamless for players making the AHL-NHL jump in the middle of the season.
Murray is under contract with the Kings through the end of next season.