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Murrays ready for son to shine in L.A.

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first_imgFor Brady Murray, it seemed that day would be extra special. In June of 2003, he was drafted in the fifth round by the Kings, the team coached by his father. The family reunion made for a nice storyline but immediately felt awkward to Brady. He loved his father but he didn’t want to work for him. “The day I was drafted, it was a great day, but I looked at the situation thinking people were going to look at me and say, `The only reason he is there is because of his father,”‘ Murray said. “That really bothered me. No one ever said that to me directly, but you hear things.” When Murray makes his North American NHL debut today, his father indeed will be watching – from the other side of the ice. Andy Murray, fired by the Kings toward the end of the 2005-06 season, now coaches the St. Louis Blues, the Kings’ opponent at Staples Center. The Murrays will become the fourth father-son combo ever to face each other in an NHL game as head coach and player, according to Elias Sports Bureau. They follow Bob Johnson and Mark Johnson, Bill Dineen and Gord Dineen, and Rick Wilson and Landon Wilson. “It’s kind of funny how it ended up,” Brady Murray said. “My dad and I looked at the schedule when it came out and saw this game, but we weren’t really concerned. I was worried about making the team.” It wasn’t clear Murray would be on the Kings until the final roster cuts before heading to London last week. He averaged nearly 12 minutes as the fourth-line center in the two games in London, his first two in the NHL, and drew praise from Coach Marc Crawford for showing “a lot of spark and energy.” Andy Murray was able to watch the games on tape. “When I saw him play his first shift, to be honest, it was kind of emotional,” Andy Murray said. “My father was a hockey fanatic and he’s no longer with us. I thought about how special it would have been for him to see Brady out there.” Brady Murray was 15 years old when his father took over as coach of the Kings in 1999. Though he remained with his mother, Ruth, in Minnesota, Brady spent many of his high school vacations in Los Angeles, soaking up the atmosphere around the Kings players and coaches in the locker room and on the ice during his father’s nearly seven-year run with the team. He probably spent more time around the Kings in high school than in the four years after being drafted. After his selection, Brady Murray spent two years in college at North Dakota and then two years in Switzerland, where he was when he found out about his father’s firing. At that point, the Kings hadn’t shown much interest in Brady and his father was no longer around. But he stuck with his goal to make the team and went about impressing the new regime. “For him to have the chance to be on the ice with Rob Blake, Jaroslav Modry, Lubomir Visnovsky, Derek Armstrong and other veteran guys after admiring them so much when he was younger is pretty special,” Andy Murray said. “He’s been a King all the way through. “There was never any wavering with that.” Growing up, Brady was always coached by others while his father was at his different coaching stops around the NHL. When Andy tried to provide advice, he resisted. “He’d always say, `You’re my dad, not my coach,”‘ Ruth Murray said. Their relationship changed in Brady’s two years in Switzerland, and they spoke regularly during training camp last month with Brady asking for advice. “I knew that would happen when Brady matured,” Ruth Murray said, “that he’d take advantage of his father’s expertise. They’ve talked a lot the last few weeks about lineups. Andy knows a lot of the players.” The topics of conversation have been different this week. “He’s an opponent now so he’s not going to give me any trade secrets,” Andy Murray said. “We’ll probably have the chance to go to dinner (Friday), and we won’t be talking a lot of hockey.” The father and son are trying to pass it off as another game. Brady said he is thinking of it more as his first regular-season home game in the NHL. “The only team I’ll be watching will be my team,” Andy Murray said. “I won’t focus my attention on him at all. We’ve got a job to do. I won’t know how he played until I watch the tape after the game.” The game might be most difficult for Ruth, who is flying in with Andy’s mother for the game. “It would be nice to remain neutral but I’m not going to hope for a tie,” Ruth Murray said. “I’ll probably hope Andy gets a couple of points (with a St. Louis win) but Brady does well and isn’t too nervous playing his first game.” matthew.kredell@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NHL: Kings center will be battling his father in North American debut. By Matthew Kredell STAFF WRITER Ask any professional athlete to name the best moments of his life and the day he was drafted is sure to make the top 10. last_img

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