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Blues fire head coach Kitchen, replace him with Andy Murray

The Canadian Press
By:

Mike Kitchen. (AP File/James A. Finley) Author: The Hockey News

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Blues fire head coach Kitchen, replace him with Andy Murray

The Canadian Press
By:

The St. Louis Blues have fired head coach Mike Kitchen and replaced him behind the bench with Murray. The Blues announced the move late Monday night but will hold a news conference at noon ET Tuesday to formally introduce Murray.

The decision to change coaches wasn't entirely surprising, though. St. Louis is last overall in the NHL standings with a 7-17-4 record and is on a seven-game losing streak.

"Andy comes to us with extensive experience and a very successful coaching pedigree," Blues president John Davidson said in a statement. "He is one of the most prepared coaches in the NHL and I believe that he is the right person for the job.

"I look forward to working with him closely as we move ahead and get this franchise back to where it belongs."

Terms of Murray's deal weren't disclosed by the club.

Murray became the Kings' head coach in '99 before being fired by the club in March 2006.

Murray's first game with the Blues will be Tuesday, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. He takes over a club that hasn't won since earning consecutive shootout victories at Columbus and Detroit on Nov. 22-24. The Blues have one point during their slide.

Kitchen is the fourth NHL coach to be fired this year, joining Trent Yawney (Chicago), Gerrard Gallant (Columbus) and Ken Hitchcock (Philadelphia).

Kitchen had compiled a record of 38 wins in 131 regular-season games since being named Blues coach on Feb. 24, 2004.

"I would like to thank Mike Kitchen for the job he has done here the past two seasons," said Davidson. "He has stood behind our bench admirably and should be commended for that."

Murray is the Los Angeles Kings' all-time leader in wins (215) and games coached (480). He led the club to 90-plus points on three occasions and was the second-fastest coach in team history to win 100 games.

Murray also has extensive international hockey experience, having guided Canada to gold at 1997 and 2003 world championships, the only coach in this country to accomplish that feat.

Murray also led Canada to a silver Medal in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and has a record six gold medals as a coach for Canada at the Spengler Cup.

Prior to joining the Kings, Murray guided the Canadian national team to a 77-29-14 record over two years. Murray has also been a coach with the Winnipeg Jets (1993-'95), Minnesota North Stars (1990-'92) and Philadelphia Flyers (1988-'90).

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Blues fire head coach Kitchen, replace him with Andy Murray