Welcome to your new (interim) coach John Stevens

Things change quickly in the NHL.

After seemingly being safe about a week ago, Kings coach Terry Murray will now be referred to as former Kings coach Terry Murray.

Watching his team drop four in a row and being unable to score goals, GM Dean Lombardi had seen enough and made the move today to release Murray from his coaching duties.

For now, assistant coach John Stevens will take over behind the bench.

Stevens was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round of the 1984 NHL Draft. Although he played parts of five seasons in the NHL, he was primarily an AHL defenseman – where he played in 834 games and won three Calder Cups.

Prior to eventually coaching the Flyers, he served as the head coach of their AHL affiliate (Philadelphia Phantoms) for six seasons, including when they won the Calder Cup Championship in 2005 – with Mike Richards at center.

In 2006 he became the Flyers head coach and posted a 120-109-34 record before being let go in early December 2009. In the spring of 2008 he led the Flyers to the NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals and was named Coach of the Year by The Hockey News.

Murray was one win away from number 500 as a head coach, a position he’s also held with the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers. His overall record as an NHL head coach is 499-383-130. Murray, who coached in his 1,000th NHL game on November 12 versus Minnesota, ranks 17th all-time in NHL history in wins and 19th all-time in games coached.

Just how long Stevens is expected to be the interim head coach will perhaps be addressed on a call later this afternoon with Lombardi. We’ll have more on that during the call posted on twitter/facebook.

In the meantime, here’s a list of candidates who probably will and won’t be looked at as possible replacements.

There is also a POLL of who should be the Kings next head coach should be here – let your voice be heard.

The Mayor
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Making the case for Darryl Sutter as the next Kings coach

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