Bryan Murray running the Philadelphia Flyers?

It's not certain, but it's certainly a possibility as Murray -- who coached the Washington Capitals for all or part of nine seasons until he was fired in January -- appears to be one of two finalists to fill the general manager's vacancy with the Flyers, arch rivals of the Capitals.

Murray spent Thursday and part of yesterday in Philadelphia meeting with Flyers President Jay Snider, whose family owns the team. The other finalist to replace Bobby Clarke apparently is Russ Farwell, the general manager of the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior team in the Western Hockey League. Farwell visited Philadelphia earlier in the week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I had a session with them, for the second time around," Murray said yesterday. "They have done a fair amount of interviewing and evaluating. I guess it's to the point where Jay and the organization will make a decision."

In addition to Farwell and Murray, the other candidates who reportedly talked to Snider in the first round of interviews included Brian Burke, director of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks; Bill Watters, a players agent from Toronto; and Ed Chynoweth, president of the Western Hockey League.

This past season, the Flyers were 30-39-11, the fourth-worst record in the National Hockey League. They finished last in the Patrick Division and thereby failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. Clarke, who in his playing days came to be a symbol of the franchise, was fired April 16. Snider and Clarke apparently disagreed on how the team should be rebuilt.

Paul Holmgren just completed his second season as coach. His record with the team is 66-75-19. After Clarke was fired, Snider gave his support to Holmgren, but added that the new general manager would have the final decision on who coaches the team.

"I don't want to do both," Murray said.

Farwell, who is 35, has managerial experience, but none in the NHL. Murray, who will be 48 in December, has no experience as an NHL general manager, but he does have an exemplary coaching record (343-246-83 with the Capitals).

He took over the Capitals in November 1981. Although the team did not qualify for the playoffs that season, it did the following year (1982-83) for the first time in the history of the franchise. The Capitals have not missed the playoffs since and, with the Flyers' streak ended this season, their eight straight playoff trips is the most in the Patrick Division.

As for the possible switch from behind the bench to the front office, Murray said: "It's certainly exciting. It's a broader field and will take a little adjustment. The hands-on of coaching was always exciting, the wins and the losses. The GM is in a different role, and is not always concerned with the immediate {situation}. In coaching, you've got to look at today."

Before the Capitals reached the playoffs this season, they spent time in last place, owing to an eight-game losing streak. Two days after the eighth loss, Capitals General Manager David Poile replaced Bryan Murray with his brother, Terry. The Capitals then went 18-14-2 and advanced to the Wales Conference finals for the first time.

No matter how either team is doing, Flyers-Capitals games are fiercely contested. It may seem strange to some Murray would switch camps, but it is a business matter.

"It's one of the prime teams, historically and traditionally, in the NHL," Murray said. "They have had great success. It certainly appears from my conversations that they are very good people to deal with. That is more important to me. It wouldn't be an arch rival. It would be my team if it works out."