Los Angeles Kings Coach Terry Murray joined the guys on The Power Play yesterday afternoon, a radio show on NHL Home Ice.
He talked about the recently play of Drew Doughty, winning on the road, the schedule, etc. But, first, they opened with some talk about Peter Forsberg, who retired earlier in the day. Murray had coached him in Philadelphia several years ago.
Here’s a recap of the conversation…
* Murray said Forsberg was a great player, one of the most competitive players he’s ever been around, could take a game over by himself, brought a great attitude and incredible level of skill. He was also glad to see Forsberg give it one more try before officially deciding he’s done.
* (Host) For as disappointed as you were in the January homestand, you have to be equally as excited with how things are going on the road – (TM) We forgot how hard you have to work to win hockey games. It bit us very badly. We’re on the road now and playing well. The guys are really digging in and competing hard. We’ve improved in the checking part of the game – that was a big focus for us coming into the road trip. There was some speed coming at us on the rush, coming through the neutral zone. We’ve made some adjustments. We put a focus on that, to be much better without the puck. And I think that’s the big reason why we’ve been able to improve defensively lately.
* For those that didn’t know, the Kings long homestand in January – and corresponding extended road stretch this month – has a lot to do with Staples Center being used this month for the Grammys and NBA All Star Game.
* (Host) There were big expectations for Doughty coming into the season. Where is his game now, compared to where it was when he was at his best? (TM) His game right now is right where it was last season when he was at his best. Where he was during the Olympics for Team Canada at then after that with the Kings, that was his best. And that’s where his game is at today. He wasn’t there at the start of the season. It was good, but just not at the same level of play he’s been at recently. He’s really moving his feet right now and carrying the puck well. He’s trying to make a difference in every game and that’s what we expect and need from him. It’s coming together at the right time of the season.
* (Host) You just won in the two of the most difficult buildings in the league. If you don’t make the playoffs, what a shame. How does that impact the confidence of your players? (TM) Well, you have to believe in what you do. It’s part of the culture you have to go through when you ask young players to come together. They’re going to face challenges like we have recently – like Philadelphia and Washington. You have to believe in yourself, the system, the structure and your teammates. When you play a team game, positive things will happen.
* (Host) Kings are in ninth place, but three points out of first. (TM) The players are excited. We talk about it in our team meetings. Our goaltending is strong. We need to continue building our offense. It’s going to be a fun stretch to end the season, especially because we have a lot of division games left.
As always, the recap above features near exact quotes. However, some comments have been partially paraphrased for brevity. You can listen to the interview here.