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KINGS NOTEBOOK: COACH HAS A `BAD DAY'.

Byline: Matt McHale Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO - One of the recommendations doctors gave Kings coach Andy Murray was ``Stay off the ice.'' But there he was Monday morning, hours before the Kings' 2-1 victory over Chicago, running practice as if he hadn't had a severe concussion just three weeks ago.

When the Kings resumed workouts Wednesday, however, Murray was on the sidelines, watching from behind a glass wall at the HealthSouth Training Center.

``Andy really did not have a very good day today,'' Kings general manager Dave Taylor said. ``He has a great passion for the game, but he also is still going to have good days and bad days. This was not a very good day.''

Murray will be back behind the bench tonight when the Kings face the slumping St. Louis Blues at Staples Center. It will be the fourth game since his return and he still experiences occasional light-headedness. When he ran the workout before the Blackhawks game, Murray also had trouble using his left arm. Assistant Dave Tippett will be running practices indefinitely.

In addition to the concussion he suffered Feb. 15 in a one-car accident in Wisconsin, Murray cracked four ribs, broke a bone in his left shoulder and suffered a torn rotator cuff.

``I have been feeling good for the last little while,'' said Murray, who is not allowed to drive. ``Sometimes when things are going well, you tend to forget that you need to slow down. I still will be coaching and hope to return to practice very soon.''

Kingss internist Michael Mellman said Wednesday that monitoring Murray's condition can be less black and white than bringing back a player from a concussion. Players absolutely are not allowed to return early because of the physical demands of the sport. A coach deals more with mental and emotional issues behind the bench.

``This is not an indication that he is worse than he was,'' Mellman said. ``The issue with players is very clear after he suffers a head trauma. Because of the collisions involved, a player is not going back out there until he is perfect.

``A coach's job is more intellectual - game decisions, line changes. He is more in charge of his return.''

In the past few years, Mellman treated concussions of players Jamie Storr, Nelson Emerson, Garry Galley, Sean O'Donnell and Pavel Rosa. Some players have missed as much as six months.

Mellman is communicating regularly with Murray, whose wife Ruth and three children are visiting from Minnesota during spring break. Taylor said he hopes having family around will smooth Murray's transition.

KINGS vs. ST. LOUIS

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Staples Center.

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Net, ESPN2; 1110-AM.

Matchup: The Blues are winless in seven games since the Olympic break and have dropped to the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. On Monday, the Blues outplayed Northwest Division-leading Colorado but lost 3-2. They hope to get forward Keith Tkachuk back tonight. Tkachuk suffered a deep thigh bruise in the first U.S./Russia game at the Olympics. The Blues also will be without center Doug Weight for the rest of the regular season because of injuries.

- Matt McHale

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 14, 2002
Words:540
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