TRH Gameday: Been Caught Streaking

Game #8

LA Kings 
(5-1-1, 5th in NHL)
New Jersey Devils
(3-2-1, 20th in NHL)

7:30pm, Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA



Running with the Devils
In Lou We Trust

That sound you heard earlier today were the collective screams of Los Angeles Kings fans as they found out that Coach Murray will be starting Jon Bernier against the New Jersey Devils instead of Goalie of the Century, Jon Quick. While some fans feel like this is the right move for Coach Murray… others think he’s bat-shit-crazy to not start Jon Quick after 3 consecutive shutouts. Rich Hammond forced Coach Murray at gun point to explain his logic in starting Bernier over Quick.

MURRAY: “It’s because of a decision I made a couple days ago. I let Bernier know on Saturday.’’

HAMMOND: And Quick’s shutout streak doesn’t influence that?

MURRAY: “Well, I made the decision before the game and I’m not going to change that. I’ve talked to Bernie about it, I’ve talked to Quicker about it, to let him know. I talked to him briefly about it. That’s the way it is. That’s the decision made.’’

Some Kings fans may be surprised to discover that this actually isn’t the first time Coach Terry Murray has held steadfast about a decision he’s made prior to a streak by one of his players. Like in 1984, when Wayne Gretzky was about to eclipse Guy Lafleur’s 28 game consecutive scoring streak record… the rookie coach for the Edmonton Oilers made a controversial decision to sit his star center.

“Wait… Coach… are you seriously sitting Gretzky?!?”

“Look, I told Conacher he was playing tonight. So he’s playing.
Let’s drop the puck, eh?” 

Luckily, Wayne Gretzky snuck out during the 3rd period in his warmup clothes and scored an empty net goal to keep the streak alive. Gretzky would go on to set an NHL record by scoring in 51 consecutive games. But just a few years later… Coach Murray would find himself smack dab in the middle of another streak controversy.

Look Cal…so we’ve got a lot of games coming up right now. The schedule starts to get busy.
What’s the big deal? Maybe you could use the rest? 
Don’t want to burn you out this quickly in the season.”

It was the summer of 1991. Cal Ripken Jr. was in the middle of an MVP season in which he would hit .323 with 34 home runs and 114 runs batted in. And brand new Baltimore Orioles coach, Terry Murray, was looking to shake things up for his slumping club.

MURRAY: I mean, we are at the bottom of the East right now… only the Yankees are better than us. And they are used to being a lower rung team. I told Craig Worthington a few days ago that if this team didn’t start winning, we’d make some changes. Well, we aren’t winning… so I’m making some changes. Maybe these boys could use a wake up call.”

Eventually, Sam Horn confronted Coach Murray in a dark hallway, and Murray made sure to start Cal Ripken Jr. that game. But when it came to actually stopping record-breaking streaks, Coach Terry Murray’s shining moment came during the 1st game of the NFL season in 1988 against the New Orleans Saints. 

“Listen… I know that Jerry Rice has caught a TD in 13 consecutive games. So let’s give his fingers a rest today, huh?
Don’t want to burn him out.”

“Ha… that’s pretty funny, Coach. Ok, let’s do it. Screw the bastard.”

So to anyone that has followed Coach Murray’s career for some time… the fact that he’s benching Jon Quick in the midst of one of the greatest goalie performances in nearly 3 years shouldn’t surprise you. 

“Johnson… that’s 3 game winners now in 7 games…
you keep pulling that shit around here and I’ll have you on the bench faster than you can say Drewiske.” 

Sure, it may only be the 8th game of the season… but it’s a pretty much meaningless game against an Eastern Conference opponent. Jon Quick has played in 5 straight games and seen nearly 30 shots in each one. So if Coach Murray wants to keep Quick sharp for the upcoming games against Dallas, Phoenix and Colorado… I’m okay with that. Because I think we’ve all seen what can happen to Jon Quick if he doesn’t get enough rest during the regular season.

Also… be sure to play the Internet’s hottest new game show… PennerPoint! That’s right, if you can correctly predict what period and what time Dustin Penner gets his 1st point of the night in the game against the Devils… you win a free t-shirt just like Nolan Kwasney did against the St. Louis Blues. Feel free to enter in the comments below here or reply to me on Twitter with your predictions using the hashtag #PennerPoint.

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones. You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.