Murrays meet tonight in perhaps final duel

March 16, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals will play the Detroit Red Wings tonight, and it couldn't be more fitting. What may well be the final duel between the brothers Murray -- Washington coach Terry and Detroit coach Bryan -- will be played on neutral ice at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Certainly it will be a game filled with undercurrents and emotions.

Three years ago, Terry Murray took over the Capitals' coaching job when the club fired Bryan, who later moved on to become Detroit's coach and general manager. Since then they have been friendly rivals, who talk often on the phone, but seldom give one another coaching advice.

And why should they? They have split this season, with each winning on the other team's home ice, and over the three seasons the Murrays have coached against each other, the series is tied 4-4.

"The ninth game, the rubber match," said Terry. "Bryan is talking about moving up to the office job only next year, so this could be it -- unless we meet for the Stanley Cup finals, and that would be terrific -- but right now we need a big one. I might use that as a pre-game talk."

As it is, both teams will be playing to secure their holds on second place in the Patrick and Norris divisions.

Washington, which missed games with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders last weekend because of the snowstorm, has not played since it collapsed in Philadelphia last Thursday.

The Capitals are tied with the Rangers for second in the Patrick. Detroit, meanwhile, is chasing Norris leader Chicago and is just two points ahead of Toronto.

Washington expects to release a revised schedule today that would include make-up games for those that were missed.

"We might be able to move our game with Pittsburgh to this Thursday and play the Islanders next Thursday," Murray said. "I'd prefer that to playing at the end of the season, because of the fatigue factor. But we'll just have to wait and see what can be worked out."

The Capitals have mixed feelings about the value of their unexpected vacation. Defenseman Sylvain Cote sees the postponements as delayed opportunities.

"Everyone seemed ready Saturday to give a big, big effort," said Cote of the postponed game with the Rangers at the Capital Centre. "We could have come out of this weekend with two big wins against two New York teams and been going to play Detroit on a little bit of a high. Now we're going to Milwaukee, into a building no one is familiar with . . ."

Terry Murray saw only positives. Yes, the team has to wait to play the Rangers and the Islanders, but it did get in two solid workouts.

"We got in a lot of physical conditioning, an anaerobic workout before and after practice, extra bike work off the ice and a full scrimmage, in which I could see how Randy [Burridge] is progressing.

"And based on what I saw, I might be able to start using a pencil instead of a pen when I write the lineups to see where he might fit in," said Murray, whose team plays nearly every other day this month. "We also got in some work on the power play."

* The NHL extended its trade deadline from this Saturday to next Monday at 3 p.m.

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