GLENDALE AZ - JANUARY 22: Head coach Terry Murray of the Los Angeles Kings watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 22 2011 in Glendale Arizona. The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
"We feel very fortunate to be able to bring Terry back to the Flyers organization as head coach of the Phantoms," general manager Paul Holmgren said in a press release. "Terry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, is an excellent teacher and a strong believer in the development process of young players."
"I really appreciate the opportunity to come back to the Flyers organization and I'm really looking forward to the challenge that's out there of coaching the Phantoms," Murray said. "The youth playing down in the American Hockey League is a real important part of the organization. I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting back into the playoffs and helping these young players develop and become NHL players as quickly as possible."
With both NHL coaching vacancies filled this week -- Adam Oates in Washington and Ralph Krueger in Edmonton -- an AHL job was really the only option for Murray if he wanted to coach professional hockey at a high level in North America this season. It's no surprise that he'd come back to an organization he's familiar with to do so, while almost certainly waiting for another NHL opportunity to spring up.
Murray's lack of minor league coaching experience is a big question with this hire. He's coached parts of three seasons at a level lower than the NHL -- two seasons in the AHL with the Baltimore Skipjacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s and one year with the IHL's Cincinnati Cyclones in 1993-94. It's been a while.
Does he have what it takes to mold prospects into players the Flyers can use throughout the regular season? Coaching in the AHL is a different job than coaching in the NHL.
Murray's been known to play a different style than Peter Laviolette does -- much more conservative and defensive. As we know, the Flyers play an up-tempo, "giddy up and go" type of game that relies on a bit of risk-taking defensively to generate offense.
One of the major goals of the Phantoms under former coach Joe Paterson was to play a similar style to the parent club, helping make any midseason jump from the AHL to the NHL a seamless one. It'll be interesting to see what Murray does with the Phantoms in that regard.
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