Terry Murray shared his thoughts this afternoon about the Kings’ first-round playoff series against San Jose. The NHL will announce tonight, at approximately 7 p.m. Pacific time, the dates and times for the first-round playoff games. Here’s a hint, though, for the Kings’ series. San Jose’s HP Pavilion is booked for an event on Friday, so unless the NHL wants the Kings and Sharks to play on back-to-back nights, it looks as though we’re heading for a Thursday start. That’s not official, but it’s what you would call circumstantial evidence in court. Here are Murray’s thoughts on the first-round series…
MURRAY: “Well, we knew it was going to be back to Vancouver, or San Jose. I think that both teams are premier teams in the game. It’s going to be a great series, with the San Jose Sharks having one of the top lines in the game, with (Joe) Thornton. My initial thought on it is that we’ve had some good games this year. We split the series, the six games. We’ve both won in each other’s building. There’s been a pretty balanced look, when you take a look at the goals for by both teams and the way the games unfolded. There were a couple of games that were pushed to the extreme, with kind of a blowout on both sides. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a very competitive first round here, and it’s going to be fun for the fans, there’s no question about that. Northern California and Southern California.”
Question: Does it mean anything different to be playing a Pacific Division team, a team that you see more often?
MURRAY: “I think, when you play a team in your division, there’s always a little bit more in there, because you are very familiar with them. It’s a very competitive game, every time in the regular season, because of the geographical rivalry. And it’s a division game, and whenever you get into the playoffs there’s always a little more intensity and it gets heated up because of the games during the regular season.”
Question: Being a former Seals player, do you have any thoughts on the third all-California playoff series?
MURRAY: “It’s going to be a great series, but certainly the game of hockey in California will benefit from it. There’s no question. Any time you have NHL teams playing like that, there’s always going to be a generation watching closely, young players who are going to follow through with their dream of wanting to become one of those guys on the ice some day. It will have an effect on the game in this state, for sure, and only a very positive one.”