EL SEGUNDO--While Kings general manager Dean Lombardi was getting hit in the wallet with a $50,000 fine for comments he made toward an NHL executive following the Kings’ 2-0 loss Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, Kings coach Terry Murray wasn’t backing down from what he believed was a bad call.
Martin Hanzal of the Coyotes appeared to raise his stick above the crossbar when he batted in a goal during the second period, giving Phoenix a 1-0 lead and shifting the game’s momentum. Phoenix had been out-shot, 18-6, prior to the disputed play. The goal was credited by on-ice officials and, after a lengthy review by replay officials in Toronto, was allowed to stand.
"It was no goal," Murphy said after practice Friday. "I could see that from the bench. We all came back to the bench and everybody was talking about it. We’re just waiting for the face-off to come down to their end. When there was such a length of time on the review, I’m dumbfounded."
"How can that ever come down to being called a goal on a video review. That’s why there’s multi-million dollars spent on these systems around the rinks, to get it right. Where’s the credibility in the whole thing if I can see it from the bench?"
"There is no question when you go to the review that the stick is two feet above the cross bar. I sill haven’t figured it out, I’ve watched it a dozen time this morning and I still don’t know how they can look at it and say it’s a goal."
Lombardi told a reporter for the Kings’ web site following the game that Mike Murphy, the league’s vice president of hockey operations, which oversees instant replay, was biased against Los Angeles because he did not get the general manager job with the Kings. He referred to another replay that did not go in the Kings' favor in a one-goal loss to Ottawa in November.
According to his biography on the Kings' web site, Murphy spent time with the Kings as a player, assistant coach, assistant general manager and head coach for parts of two seasons before he was replaced behind the bench by Rogie Vachon in December 1987. Murphy later spent two seasons as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lombardi apologized to Murphy first thing Friday morning and later issued the following statement.
"I spoke to the commissioner today and he made it very clear to me that my actions last night were inappropriate and detrimental to the game," Lombardi said. "There is no question that his assessment is correct and the punishment fits the crime. Just as important, I apologized to Mike Murphy this morning and I sincerely appreciate his willingness to accept my apology. Like the team must learn from its mistakes, the GM has to learn from his mistakes as well."