Blues fire Murray, promote Payne

The St. Louis Blues have fired coach Andy Murray, naming Davis Payne coach in the interim.

Payne was promoted from the team’s AHL affiliate in Peoria, Ill.

“Davis is very knowledgeable of the players in our organization and we feel he is the best candidate to coach our team,” team president John Davidson said in a prepared statement.

Davidson was expected to discuss the decision at a news conference Saturday morning. The Blues host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

The Blues are 17-17-6 with 40 points, fourth in the NHL’s Central Division behind first-place Chicago.

“I would like to thank Andy Murray for the job he has done here the past four seasons,” Davidson said. “He was an integral part in turning the St. Louis Blues around. He is a true professional and I wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Murray joined the Blues in 2006-07 after six years as coach of the Los Angeles Kings, leading St. Louis to the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2004-05 lockout.

Payne was in his second season of coaching the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen after seven seasons in the ECHL. He led the Blues’ ECHL affiliate in Alaska to the 2006 Kelly Cup and was named the league’s coach of the year in 2006-07.

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