For Murray, dismissal 'nature of the business'

January 29, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals were struggling to find consistency, and coach Terry Murray knew something had to be done. What he didn't know, until 3 1/2 hours before Thursday night's game at Buffalo, was that he was about to be fired.

"I know the nature of the business," he said yesterday. "I know the bottom line is winning, being in the race for the playoffs and making the playoffs."

Until Thursday, Murray's 4 1/2 seasons behind the Capitals' bench meant he was the second-longest-serving coach in the NHL. Only New York Islanders coach Al Arbour has coached the same team longer.

Until Thursday, he had never been fired from a coaching job. But the Capitals' 20-23-4 record, three-game losing streak and inability to play consistently well caught up with Murray.

In a brief meeting, Capitals general manager David Poile told Murray he was being replaced by Jim Schoenfeld.

Poile also offered Murray, who has been in the Capitals' organization for 12 years, another position with the team.

Yesterday, Murray was home with his family, regrouping and answering phone calls and questions.

"A lot of things have to fall in place," Murray, 43, said of the Capitals' season. "Everyone has to be playing at a very good level. People who are here have to come through.

"Last year, our defensemen came through with tremendous seasons. This year, everyone is just a little off, and with the parity out there, you can't succeed when you don't have everyone playing up to their ability on a consistent basis.

"We just kept coming up short."

Murray said he would just "stick around" his house for a while and see what develops.

"David and I agreed to talk in a week or so," Murray said. "I haven't thought about [another job], and we didn't talk specifics. The meeting we had Thursday was fairly short and not a good time to be sitting and talking after just being fired."

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