Joe Mullen, Ian Laperriere and Gord Murphy can all breathe a sigh of relief. They're all still employed as assistants on the Philadelphia Flyers' coaching staff.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall made the announcement at a news briefing Friday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.
There was talk of possibly going outside the organization or promoting former Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Terry Murray, who joined the Buffalo Sabres staff Thursday as an assistant.
Hextall explained what happened with Murray, who was said to be close to rejoining the Flyers' staff just a few weeks ago. Then Buffalo — whose general manager, Tim Murray, is Terry's nephew — came calling. Hextall didn't stand in his way.
"I sat down with Terry at the end of the season in Allentown,'' Hextall explained. "I told him he was not going to be a candidate for the head coaching job, and he said he didn't expect to be. I asked him, I said, 'Terry, you've been around a long time, and I have a lot of respect for you. What do you want to do?' He said, 'I really want to finish my career in the NHL.' That's fair.''
After consulting with new head coach Dave Hakstol, Hextall was comfortable bringing his three assistants back.
"Dave and I went through the process of looking at the field and seeing what's out there,'' Hextall said. "Dave sat down with all our guys, between face to face and the phone, numerous times.
"In the end, we felt that this was the best staff that we could put together moving forward. The one thing I told Dave right from the start was, 'I don't want to saddle you with a staff, I want you to be comfortable with everybody you're working with.' So by no means was it me saying, 'Dave, let's keep the same staff together.'''
There was talk that Hakstol might offer one of the assistants positions to one of his assistants at the University of North Dakota (his previous stop), but that didn't work out.
But the Flyers did explore outside options.
"As a matter of fact, we talked about the opposite — possibly making changes or bringing one or two guys back,'' Hextall said. "But we're here, and in the end we're both comfortable with the same guys coming back.''
Kudos for Kimmo: Hextall said he was thrilled to watch Kimmo Timonen win a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
It was Hextall who accommodated the 40-year-old defenseman by trading him to the Blackhawks.
I was sitting there after the game thinking they should make a movie,'' Hextall said. "Seriously. Here's this little guy who couldn't' play in the league years ago. We all forget about that. To see him have the career he had at that size points to his stubbornness, and I say that with the utmost respect. To battle and battle, and last summer what he went through, and thinking probably he wouldn't play.
"And it took a lot of courage to come into my office too and say I want to go for one last shot. Even if you go somewhere, what are your chances of winning? Really? You're going to move away from your family for three months, and you're going to go to a team that you don't know anybody from, and you're going to try to win a Stanley Cup. And you haven't played in eight months.
"There's a lot of courage there. I really admire Kimmo. I couldn't be happier. I think probably all you guys and the whole Delaware Valley and Finland and everywhere else is happy for this guy, because he's a consummate pro. I guess in the end he got what he deserved. He deserved to win the Stanley Cup.''
Job offers for Berube: Hextall disclosed that former head coach Craig Berube has drawn some interest in possible assistant coaching jobs with other NHL teams.