COACH TERRY MURRAY doesn't deserve the blame for the Los Angeles Kings' terrible start to a season of high expectations, according to general manager Dean Lombardi.
Yet Lombardi decided Murray had to pay for it anyway.
Los Angeles fired Murray yesterday and replaced him with assistant coach John Stevens, like Murray a former Flyers head coach, who will be the Kings' interim coach when they open a four-game road trip tonight in Boston.
Murray was behind the long-struggling Kings' bench for their best moments in the past decade, leading Los Angeles to consecutive playoff appearances after an 8-year absence while compiling the best winning percentage (.560) of any coach in franchise history.
But Murray clearly has struggled to reach his current club, which is mired in mediocrity after entertaining hopes of contending for the Stanley Cup with several aggressive offseason moves. Los Angeles has lost four straight to drop to 13-12-4. Despite adding Mike Richards and Simon Gagne in the offseason, Los Angeles is scoring an NHL-worst 2.24 goals per game.
Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby said he is dealing with a recurrence of concussion-like symptoms and is out indefinitely. Tests indicate he does not have a concussion. Crosby, who missed more than 10 months after taking shots to the head in successive games in January, hasn't played since developing a headache following a 3-1 loss to Boston last week.
His plan to return tonight against Detroit was scuttled when symptoms popped up over the weekend during what he called "light exertion."
* Tampa Bay agreed to terms with free-agent forward Antti Miettinen on a 2-year contract. Miettinen, who played with Ak-Bars Kazan, of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League this season, has played for Minnesota and Dallas in the NHL.
* New Jersey acquired defenseman Kurtis Foster and goaltender Timo Pielmeier from Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Mark Fraser, center Rob Pelley and their seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft.
In last night's game *
At Tampa, Zach Parise and Adam Henrique each had a goal and two assists as New Jersey beat Tampa Bay, 5-4.