Before this year I thought a coach’s impact was minimal. Sure he could design a system and give great pep talks, but it was up to the players on the ice to execute. Then along came the day of December 12, 2006. The Blues were scheduled to play the Blackhawks that night and it was announced that Andy Murray would be taking over the vacant head coach position for the Blues. Murray did not even know the players names, commenting later in the paper that #9 (Jay McClement) had a great game for us. The Blues carried a 1-0 lead into the third before coughing up 3 goals in under 6 minutes, and falling the Hawks 3-2. The next night the Blues had to play again and lost decisively to the Avalanche. Andy Murray had yet to even run a practice with his new team before they were 0-2 with him behind the bench. Murray was able to get 1 practice in with the team before being thrown into a home and home series with the highly skilled Nashville Predators. The Blues lost both games in overtime but showed considerable improvement from what had been seen just earlier that week. On December 19, 2006 the Blues with Coach Murray’s system in full stride routed the Penguins on national television 4-1. The game was small win for the Blues this season, but a huge win in where this franchise was headed. From that moment forward the Blues carried one of the best records in the league up until the trade deadline.
Since the Blues season ended, Murray was selected to coach team Canada at the IIHF World Championships. For those of us in the US where the games were no where to be seen, Murray coached them to a 9-0 record and a gold medal.
Modest Murray always credits his players, but it’s obvious the man knows what he doing. When looking for a coach for the Blues I do not think a better choice could have been made. While Murray might not be among the list of candidates for the Jack Adams Award, which he should be, look for him to lead this rejuvenated St. Louis Blues team back to the playoffs in 07-08!