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Maple Leafs Reportedly Ready To Sign Rangers Assistant As Coach

June 25, 1996

TORONTO (AP) _ The Toronto Maple Leafs’ coaching situation could be resolved sooner than expected.

The Toronto Star, citing unidentifed sources, reported in today’s editions there was a ``95 percent″ chance New York Rangers assistant coach Mike Murphy would get the job, possibly today.

But general manager Cliff Fletcher said Monday an announcement more likely would come next week.

``I have an NHL governors meeting in New York (today), then I’m going to Saskatoon for Wendel Clark’s wedding on the weekend, so next week would be a more realistic time for wrapping up the coach matter,″ Fletcher said. ``Not only do we have to pick the man, but we must negotiate a contract with him, and that takes time.″

Fletcher is continuing to monitor developments in Denver, where Marc Crawford, coach of the Stanley Cup-champion Colorado Avalanche, has yet to agree to a new contract with the team. Crawford’s agent, Harry Radomski, rejected a three-year, $2.1-million offer over the weekend.

Fletcher, attending the Maple Leaf Gardens’ board of directors meeting Monday, told the board it might take until next week for the Crawford situation to play itself out.

But Gardens owner Steve Stavro told Fletcher he did not want to wait indefinitely and would prefer a coach to be named before the weekend.

Murphy, a former Maple Leafs assistant, met with Fletcher for the second time last week, but has not yet discussed money or other terms of a contract. Fletcher said Sunday no further interviews were planned, which effectively eliminated former Calgary coach Dave King as a candidate.

The Maple Leafs fired coach Pat Burns during last season and replaced him with Nick Beverley, the team’s director of scouting and personnel. Toronto finished the year with a 34-36-12 record and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by St. Louis in six games.

Murphy, 45, was born in Toronto and was an assistant with the Maple Leafs for three seasons (1991-94). He then spent the next two years as a Rangers assistant.

He becamse head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in January 1987 and lasted 27 games into the next season. He was then hired as an assistant by Vancouver.

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