The Florida Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since the 1999-2000 season. Their coach that season? Terry Murray. Murray took over the Panthers in 1998 — hired by his brother, Bryan, the general manager — and missed the playoffs in his first season but made them in his second season (and was eliminated in the first round). Murray got fired 36 games into his third season.
Are there parallels to be drawn? The Panthers, in Murray’s first season, had 78 points, then made the playoffs the next season. The Kings, in Murray’s first season, had 79 points. I’m guessing Murray would like to duplicate his second season in Florida…but not his third.
This morning, Murray talked about his experiences coaching the Panthers…
MURRAY: “It was good. My first year here, this was the new building, they opened it up. The owner was great here. Wayne Huizenga was great. He was tremendous. `Anything you need, anything you want, just give me a call.’ He’s that kind of a guy. He’s just a garbage collector. That’s how he started out in life, and he’s a great, down-to-earth person. Really cared about the players and the team and would do anything. His wife was wonderful. So that always made it real enjoyable. Working with Bryan was great. That was the second time we went through that, after Washington, and that was really good too, to get back with that working environment. From that side, it was great.
“The team was pretty good. We didn’t make the playoffs the first year, but we kind of went through the process with a lot of changes, a lot of young guys, a big commitment to the youth, and the second year we made the playoffs. That’s the last time, I think, the team made the playoffs. That’s 10 years ago now. So it was good.”