Terry Murray could soon be back in Flyers organization

Posted: June 26, 2012

PITTSBURGH — Former Kings coach Terry Murray, who was fired by Los Angeles on Dec. 12, is close to beginning an unprecedented fifth stint with the Flyers' organization.

As first reported by RDS' Renaud Lavoie, Murray could become the next head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed the two sides have spoken about a job. Apparently, a position as the Phantoms' top coach is not the only offer on the table.

"We have spoken," Holmgren said. "Nothing is in place."

Holmgren asked for and received permission from his Kings counterpart, Dean Lombardi, to negotiate with Murray, since he is still under contract with Los Angeles through the 2012-13 season.

Murray, 61, was fired by the Kings just one win short of 500 in the NHL. He was 139-106-30 in parts of four seasons with the Kings. He scouted the Eastern Conference for the Kings in the playoffs this spring. Lombardi said Murray will receive a Stanley Cup ring for his service to the team, despite being fired 6 months before the Kings actually won.

Before joining the Kings in 2008, Murray served 7 years with the Flyers, first as a professional scout and then as an assistant coach to both Ken Hitchcock and John Stevens. Originally, Murray was fired as head coach of the Flyers just a few days after being swept by Detroit in the 1997 Stanley Cup final. He was 118-64-30 behind the Flyers' bench from 1994-97. He is 499-383-89-41 (.557) in his NHL career.

He also played with the Flyers from 1975-77 and 1978-81.

Holmgren fired Phantoms coach Joe Paterson on May 22 after a year and a half on the job in which he nearly made the playoffs with a talent-depleted roster. The Phantoms' job needs stability, as they will be moving on to their fourth coach in four seasons since the Flyers' top minor league affiliate relocated from Philadelphia to Glens Falls, N.Y., in 2009.

Bryz's new backup

After praising outgoing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky as one of the hardest-working players he's seen at any position, Holmgren said the Flyers will "come up with a good guy" to back up Ilya Bryzgalov next season.

Surprisingly, Paul Holmgren mentioned the name of Michael Leighton twice. Leighton, 33, finishes off his 2-year, $3.1 million deal on June 30. He played just one regular-season game with the Flyers over the life of the contract and did not make many friends with his theatrics after being yanked from a 2011 playoff contest against Buffalo.

Other than Leighton and Bryzgalov, the Flyers have only two goaltenders — rookies Niko Hovinen and Cal Heeter — in their system.

"We talked about Michael Leighton, who is still really our guy," Holmgren said. "Ilya plays a lot of games and we're counting on him playing a lot of games next year."

Marty Biron, Scott Clemmensen and Johan Hedberg are some of the veteran backups on the July 1 market, but former Flyer Brian Boucher — who has 1 year left in Carolina — seems a logical and inexpensive trade option.

Slap shots

Two different reports on Sunday have Paul Holmgren quoted as saying that a new contract extension for coach Peter Laviolette should be completed in a matter of weeks. Laviolette, 47, is entering the final year of his 4-year contract, which began on Dec. 4, 2009 ... The Flyers' public relations staff, headed by Zack Hill, was awarded the Dick Dillman Award at Saturday's draft for the top staff in the Eastern Conference ... One analysis estimates that the 2014 draft at the Wells Fargo Center could bring in up to $30 million for the local economy.

Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. For more Flyers coverage and opinion, read his blog at www.philly.com/FrequentFlyers.

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