LOS ANGELES, May 18 -- The Los Angeles Kings, who went from Stanley Cup finalists to missing the playoffs in one year, fired General Manager Nick Beverley and Director of Player Personnel and Development Bob Owen Wednesday.
'Both Nick and Bob have been loyal and dedicated employees of the Kings for many years,' said Kings' owner Bruce McNall. 'The future of the Kings looks very bright thanks to the hard work both have given to the organization. I am extremely grateful for the jobs they performed for us and wish them nothing but the best in the future.'
The 47-year-old Beverley had been with Los Angeles since retiring as a player in 1980. He succeeded Rogie Vachon as general manager in June 1992 after serving as a scout, director of player personnel and assistant general manager.
The 45-year-old Owen just completed his second year in his post. He joined the Kings in 1984 and previously served as a scout before becoming scouting director in 1988.
Coach Barry Melrose, who helped guide Los Angeles to the Stanley Cup finals last season, said he and Beverley disagreed on the need to acquire bigger and stronger players.
'It's unfortunate this has happened,' said Melrose, who is in his second year behind the Kings' bench. 'Since I've come to Los Angeles the one thing I wanted to do was make the team bigger and stronger. Nick and I didn't agree on that.'
Many observers believed that either Beverley or Melrose would not be back with the Kings for the 1994-95 season because of the dispute.
Beverley had been criticized for a number of recent trades, including deals that sent Bob Kudelski to the Ottawa Senators for several minor- league players, and perennial All-Star defenseman Paul Coffey to the Detroit Red Wings for center Jimmy Carson, who never fit in with Melrose's grinding system.
Melrose, at the moment, is working as a studio commentator on ESPN's playoff coverage and made his remarks between the first and second periods of Game Two of the Western Conference finals between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Kings were 39-35-10 in 1992-93 and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in club history. They were beaten by the Montreal Canadiens in five games and slumped to fifth in the Pacific Division this season with a 27-45-12 mark. Los Angeles finished 16 points behind the San Jose Sharks for the final Western Conference playoff berth.