Mister Murray

- August 23rd, 2010

Announced Monday is that Bryan Murray will be formally inducted into the Upper Ottawa Valley Sports Honour Roll in Pembroke Oct. 13.
It’s a recognition of the Shawville native’s 30-plus years in the NHL, as well as his Central Junior Hockey League’s accomplishments in the 1970s, when he guided the Pembroke Lumber Kings to a couple of Centennial Cup appearances and led the Rockland Nationals to the national crown in 1976.
The news have me again wondering how Ottawa will remember Murray’s days with the Senators.
I mean, provided the team has the 2010-11 season expected of it (either another early playoff exit – first or second round – or missing out on the post-season altogether) and nothing more.
I’ve always believed that by directing the Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup finals as their coach, Murray earned himself distinction as the best bench boss in the team’s first 18 years … and counting. Simply because nobody else has been able to get there.
As the GM, he has been criticized for the team’s failures to get back to the final, or even go on another good post-season run. Some of it has been valid, and some of it nothing more than the grasping for answers.
Either way, the team’s expectations after getting to the final series have not been met.
I’m guessing 3 of every 4 people who comment to this blog will say this should be the 67-year-old Murray’s final season as the team’s top decision maker.
So who should be his successor?

Categories: Hockey

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16 comments

  1. Marc says:

    Could’t disagree more brennan. Do you even watch hockey or know anything about this organization. He has drafted well since taking over. The Sens had no prospects under Muckler who traded everything. Murrays picks and building with show in the next to years. This team will compete thats for sure. Way to be negative once again.

  2. Marc says:

    Correction, that was his building blocks will show. Thanks.

  3. BobbyG says:

    Certainly Brian deserves to be recognized in the Upper Pembroke Sports Hall of Fame…absolutely! There is no doubt he was a decent hockey player, great Junior coach and a hell of a good guy. He will be remembered as a guy who lasted 30 years in the NHL! After 30 years in the show in a variety of positions, does he possess a ring? NO! Does he have a winning record as a coach? NO! 30 years in on an organization (NHL) is successful, but is it the yardstick for greatness? No…it is an old boys club. I know he a is great employer and has launched many jobs/careers…he certainly is loyal to friends and family. As a coach for the Ottawa Senators, with the one of the youngest, fastest and most skilled teams ever assembled and certainly the best team in the NHL at the time and in the NHL finals, the team lost! The certainly shouldn’t have! “The best coach in Ottawa’s history” allowed his starting goaltender to go super freak with an LA Rapper until the wee hours of the morning when the Stanley Cup was being contested (later rewarding him with with a gaudy long term contract)! He didn’t dress the toughest guy in the league for a single game against on of the toughest and certainly the dirtiest teams in the league. Why? What will be his legacy in Ottawa; well it can be defined in a few ways. In a few short years he single handedly turnied the team from being young, talented, goal scoring, fast, skilled/talented and extremely entertaining to a team that is slow, old, soft, unskilled and boring. Moreover, he will be remembered for his loyalty that was more important than what was best for the hockey club. Signing old buddies: Lapointe, Robitaille, Smith, Richardson; wasted and silly drafts: O’Brien, Karlsson, Cowan, Runbland!; firing a coach who played goalie in the NHL for many years to hire Emery’s friend who, if anyone every seen him, can hardly skate/promoting strength and conditioning coaches to a/coach and then Dir player development/nephew at A/GM (because of his history of success elsewhere)/hiring a kid who had 1.5 years of mediocrity in the AHL; Ludicrous NTC; awarding a one way to a 26 year old who was never drafted in junior or the NHL and then after scoring 2 goals last year (2 less than the year before) rewarding him with a quarter of a million dollar raise (Winchester 750k)?????????; signing tired, old, bored and lazy Russians (Kovalev and Gonchar 4.5 and 5m); allowing starters to sign with other teams and get zero in return (Volchenkov); mortgaging the future for bums: Eaves and Corvo for Stillman and Commodore (both left and they didn’t not have nice things to say about Murray), 1st draft choice for Comrie and Campoli (Comrie left and Campoli was in the press box), 2 second round draft choices for Sutton and Cullen (both left after the Playoffs…what a surprise) and Vermette for a 3rd string goaltender and…using the media to air dirty laundry for his mismanagment: the selfish and lazy Heatley and the selfish and statistic padding Spezza. Yes indeed, Murray has left a legacy…a legacy of total incompetence as a coach and a GM here in Ottawa!

  4. Potter says:

    Marc: so I am thinking you are the 1 of 4, no?

    I’m not a big Murray fan, as GM. Some good trades & contracts, some bad ones. (Actually, I would like to see a list of key decisions over the years: lot of writers to this blog single out a few bad trades/contracts to slam him.) All said, don’t think Murray is on a thread though, I would say Melnyk is pretty happy with him, can’ see Murray’s job coming down to the results of this season.

  5. Mike8888 says:

    I agree with Marc. The Sens were already on the decline when Murray took over as GM and are now in much better shape for the future due to Murray’s drafting and signing of prospects.

  6. Nancy D says:

    Honestly, I am not blown away by Murray’s drafting, just as I am not blown away by Muckler’s, either. You have to remember, we had different scouts at the time as well. The GM really has little to do with drafting outside of standing at the podium and calling out a name. It’s the scouts who you should criticize (or thank) for the prospects.

  7. Brian Monroe says:

    Brennan, I think you should be the new GM …you clearly have all the answers…not to mention your 20/20 hindsight…that always comes in handy. If things don’t work out as GM maybe you should give the TSN monkey a run for her money as a prognosticator…those are some bold predictions…miss the playoffs, first round exit, second round exit. Way to go out on a limb, hack.

  8. BGoody says:

    Not blown away by Murray’s drafting…I guess not Nancy. Ottawa could have had Magnus Pajaarvi-Svenson in the line-up for the 2010 season. They could have had Vladamir Tarasenko for the up coming season. Both of thse guys are offensive forwards who are big and can skate like hell and know how to score goals!!!!! Instead, Murray chose a big slow pylon in Cowan, who I suspect will never amount to anything and another, you guessed it, mobile defenceman in Rundbland????? So, in the next year or two big forwards will come over the Sens blueline and woryy about getting hit by: Lee, Karlsson, Rundlband, Kuba, Campoli, Wiercoch and Gonchar. Intimidating…I don’t think so.

  9. Wow, BobbyG. Let’s just go over this in order:

    “Signing old buddies: Lapointe, Robitaille, Smith, Richardson”

    Lapointe was acquired for a sixth-round pick, not much to lose. Richardson was league-minimum, serviceable, and has moved into coaching–and coaching well, it seems. Robitaille was a bust, but he was also league minimum, and one season. Smith was a mistake, but Murray was far from the only person who thought it would have worked out better.

    “wasted and silly drafts: O’Brien, Karlsson, Cowan, Runbland!”

    Somehow Karlsson was a waste? And you’re already giving up on Cowen and Rundblad? And O’Brien has been a disappointment, but that draft was mere months after Murray was hired; his scouting staff wasn’t fully in place yet.

    “firing a coach who played goalie in the NHL for many years to hire Emery’s friend who, if anyone every seen him, can hardly skate/promoting strength and conditioning coaches to a/coach and then Dir player development”

    At the time, Emery appeared to be the goalie of the future for this franchise; he’d just led the team to Conference and the Cup Finals. Bringing on his coach would have seemed like a good idea at the time.

    “nephew at A/GM (because of his history of success elsewhere)”

    Watch the Binghamton Senators this season, and tell me Tim and Bryan Murray haven’t done well for them.

    “hiring a kid who had 1.5 years of mediocrity in the AHL”

    Cory Clouston was brought in as an interim head coach, and he completely turned the team around. After doing so, he was given an extension; I don’t think you’ll find many Sens fans who aren’t proponents of Clouston at this point.

    “Ludicrous NTC”

    Agreed; he’s been far too generous with limited-movement clauses.

    “awarding a one way to a 26 year old who was never drafted in junior or the NHL and then after scoring 2 goals last year (2 less than the year before) rewarding him with a quarter of a million dollar raise (Winchester 750k)?????????”

    Signing Winchester in the first place was a great idea, and Murray was far from the only GM interested in doing so. I’m as lost as anyone else on why he got a raise this season, but he’s still a developing player. It is possible he has more to show in the NHL.

    “signing tired, old, bored and lazy Russians (Kovalev and Gonchar 4.5 and 5m)”

    They were different signings than the Senators organization has ever pursued before, this is true. Kovalev had a forgettable season last year, but as long as his injury heals (and all indications are that it is coming along well), he should be poised for a rebound: It is a contract year, after all.

    As for Gonchar, he put up 50P in 62GP last season–not exactly numbers expected of a tired, bored, or lazy player. He’s a signing intended to improve the pathetic powerplay, and it’s difficult to see how he won’t (as long as he’s able to stay healthy). And given that Gonchar’s identified the 2014 Olympics as a personal goal, you’ve got to think he’s going to be internally motivated to succeed with the Senators.

    “allowing starters to sign with other teams and get zero in return (Volchenkov)”

    Always a difficult decision, but don’t think for a second Murray wasn’t trying to shop Volchenkov’s rights at free agency. He ‘allowed’ him to walk, if you can say that, after doing everything he though reasonable to keep him in a Senators uniform; when he realized Volchie was gone, he signed Gonchar instead, which cost the team nothing aside from the cap space reserved for him.

    “mortgaging the future for bums: Eaves and Corvo for Stillman and Commodore (both left and they didn’t not have nice things to say about Murray)”

    Eaves and Corvo were “the future”? Eaves has never been the same since his concussion in the 2007 playoffs, and Corvo was demanding a trade. Eaves is now a borderline NHL player, while Corvo is still producing–but that hardly matters, because he demanded a trade. As for Stillman and Commodore, neither worked out. But the move was, in my opinion, worth making anyway.

    “1st draft choice for Comrie and Campoli (Comrie left and Campoli was in the press box)”

    Actually, Campoli was terrific in the latter part of last season, and especially in the playoffs. And we won’t really know whether this deal was worthwhile until we find out how well Kyle Palmieri, who ended up drafted with the first-round pick in question, turns out.

    “2 second round draft choices for Sutton and Cullen (both left after the Playoffs…what a surprise)”

    Sutton and Cullen were two of the Senators’ biggest contributors in the 2010 playoffs, and Murray tried to re-sign who he could. Teams trying to make playoff runs will give up future assets in exchange for immediate gains, and at the trade deadline, the Senators looked like a team that could seriously make a push for the Eastern Conference.

    “and Vermette for a 3rd string goaltender”

    Funny, Vermette didn’t have that many fans when he was in Ottawa, aside from all the girls in his fan club–I love revisionist history. He’s had a lot of success centring Rick Nash, but there aren’t many players who wouldn’t. As for Leclaire, he had an awful year last season, but his potential was undeniable. We’ll see what happens this season, and if he doesn’t play like a top goalie, then we move on.

    “using the media to air dirty laundry for his mismanagment: the selfish and lazy Heatley and the selfish and statistic padding Spezza”

    I have no idea why Murray is so forthcoming with the media. I’m not convinced it was indeed Murray who ‘leaked’ the Heatley trade request in the media, but the Spezza “trade” fiasco was a nightmare. Agreed.

    Bottom line, no GM gets everything right. Murray has made plenty of mistakes in his tenure, but he has also done a lot of good for the organization–most of it concentrated on rebuilding the prospect ranks of the team. I’m very interested to see how the young players (Regin, Karlsson, Z. Smith) do in Ottawa, and almost as interested to see how the B-Sens play this season. And then, well, there’s Rundblad, Petersson, and Silfverberg in Europe–we’ll see how those turn out.

    As for Garrioch’s question, some signs are pointing to this being Murray’s final season as GM. It’s tough to know who will be his successor, but I sincerely hope it’s not a nepotistic hire of Time Murray. Nothing against him, but I’d like to see a hiring process that brings in some upper-level management experience, and I think Melnyk has a responsibility to find the best guy.

  10. Visitor says:

    Congrats to Murray, it’s hard to be that relentlessly mediocre for an extended period of time, at least outside the Federal Government. I’m sure we’ll all pause tonight and remember that 40 years ago, Murray won with Rockland then went on to 30-year NHL career that reads:

    Lost in first round
    Lost in second round
    Lost in first round
    Lost in second round
    Lost in second round
    Lost in first round
    Lost in second round
    Lost in Finals

    Murray is the best Senators bench boss ever? Really?
    So he opened the door to a 50-goal scorer, a 90+ centre and a team full of puckmoving defensemen and he deserves credit for that? Wow.
    Were you here when Jacques Martin was putting together a salary-limited crew, taught them defense and gelled them into a team?

    Here’s some stuff Murray also deserves credit for:

    -Alienating and trading the PMDs that took him there and the shot-blocker that took them there, that would be Corvo, Preissing, Redden, Meszaros, Volchenkov, Schubert
    -Hiring a bush-league coach in Paddock (A yes man), another coach that had never won in Hartsburg (a yes man) and finally a guy from the minors because Melnyk was tired of paying 2-3 coaches per year (Clouston)
    -Couldn’t handle Emery off the ice
    -Couldn’t handle the Heatley situation with grace and discretion
    -Botched the Spezza situation this summer, never should have been made public
    -Added Jason Smith for ‘character’ then asked him to retire
    -Drafted Erik Karlsson when there was a CHL goalie of the year available (iirc)
    -Drafted the immobile, injury-prone Jared Cowen
    -Revolving door of goalies
    -Revolving door of coaches
    -Revolving door of goalie coaches
    -Team has not advanced past the first round in three years
    -Team has won two playoff games in three years
    -Team missed playoffs under his tenure for first time in 10 years (inability to manage the room and egos)
    -Hires family and relatives over hockey people (Luke Richardson and Tim Murray).
    -Insane long-term contracts and NTC that will hobble the next GM for years to come!

    Who will be the next GM? TIM MURRAY, COME ON DOOOOOOOOWN! YOU’RE THE NEXT CONTESTANT ON MURRAY FAMILY MANAGEMENT.

    Who SHOULD be the next GM? There were and are candidates. Yzerman could have got the call last year but Melnyk idiotically gave Murray an extension based on an unsustainable hot streak. Paul Fenton hired yet? How about say, anyone out of the Red Wings office?

    I don’t know Don, who the next GM should be. Shall I peruse the CJHL, CHL, AHL, OHL, QMJHL, Swedish Elite League for candidates? Should I make a short list for you? Isn’t it your job to use your sources and find out which GMs might be primed? Maybe someoone out of Lowell?

    One thing for sure, Melnyk will put in Tim Murray because it’s easy and doesn’t require any effort on his part. Then we’ll hear how Tim is a great Shawville guy, hard-working with character woooooo weeeeeee let’s go for a hayride folks!

    I don’t know the next GM’s name but I hope he has free reign to take an axe to this roster, to tell the players they have not been able to get it it done and to execute change toward a youth movement and ateam filled with speed, youth, piss and vinegar.
    He won’t have that freedom though because YOUR HERO, Bryan Murray, has given unmoveable contracts to marginal players and No-Trades to everyone that asks for them as if they were candy.
    That is DISGRACEFUL. Does Murray not know when to say NO and when to part ways with depreciating assets?

    Memo to Don.
    Here are some SUCCESSFUL players and hockey people from the Ottawa region:

    Luc Robitaille (Cup winner, Hall of Famer)
    Denis Potvin (Multiple Cup winner, Hall of Famer)
    Larry Robinson (Multiple Cup winner, coached Devils to a Cup, Hall of Famer)
    Steve Yzerman (Mutliple Cup winner, groomed in a winning org, Hall of Famer)
    Brian Kilrea (Note: May NOT work out at the NHL level, understood)
    Doug Wilson (Elite level player and GM)

    Keep kissing the Murray behind Don, I will not refuse to give Murray any credit until I see a STANLEY CUP in Ottawa under his tenure as a GM.
    Anything less is mediocre and quite frankly irrelevant.

  11. Visitor says:

    That should read:

    I will refuse to give…he deserves little to no credit for anything he has done at the NHL level.

  12. Peter says:

    Keep Bryan Murray for a few more years and have him train Alfredsson for the post.

  13. BobbyG says:

    I will watching with great interest this and the next few years comparing how Cowan, Wiechoch, Rundlband and Karlsson do, compared to others Ottawa should have drafted. Most notably, two big, strong, fast and talented forwards in Tarasenko (St Louis) and Pajaarvi-Svenson (Edmonton). I suspect that Getzlaf, Perry, Penner, Iginla, Crosby, Ovejkin and many other big strong forwards will have their way coming over the blueline. Who will be there to stop them: Gonchar? Karlsson? Wiecoch? Campoli? Kuba? Rundbland? Philips? Lee? Nancy is so right, Murray’s drafting has been less than stellar!

  14. Mike8888 says:

    Yeah. What Peter said. :)

  15. BobbyG says:

    “Signing Winchester in the first place was a great idea, and Murray was far from the only GM interested in doing so. I’m as lost as anyone else on why he got a raise this season, but he’s still a developing player. It is possible he has more to show in the NHL.” Name a GM who was interested in a guy who never got drafted in JUnior or the NHL and who scored 8 goals in his graduating year…who can’t skate, shoot, score, stickhandle, fight…….Still Developing at 27 and in his 28 year? 2 goals turns your crank? Yikes!

    “Sutton and Cullen were two of the Senators’ biggest contributors in the 2010 playoffs, and Murray tried to re-sign who he could. Teams trying to make playoff runs will give up future assets in exchange for immediate gains, and at the trade deadline, the Senators looked like a team that could seriously make a push for the Eastern Conference.” I am sure you are a keen fan but you know diddly about the game, Sutton was a big fat minus player coming to Ottawa and after his arrival he put up even more minus numbers. Cullen played with Afredsson and Fisher and was celebrated! I knew…many new…that neither of them were going to be in Ottawa the next year and Ottawa lost 2 draft picks as a result.

    “Funny, Vermette didn’t have that many fans when he was in Ottawa, aside from all the girls in his fan club–I love revisionist history. He’s had a lot of success centring Rick Nash, but there aren’t many players who wouldn’t.” Vermette played mostly on another line…he played PP, regular shift and killed penalties. You like other fans believe what you are told and while he was in Ottawa yuo were told to believe he was a 3rd or 4th line winger with KELLY at center…I am sure you thought that was right. I was sick when the trade was made but I am sure you love it…

    Richardson was serviceable? He sat in the press box for half of the previous two seasons? Robitaille, Smith and Lapinte were absolute bums. You agree with getting tired old useless bums who were well past their best before date??????

    So you will take a Rundlbland and Cowan over Tarasenko and Parjaarvi-Sevenson or are you again buying whatever the Sens management is selling. Did you watch Cowan play…er…..not play. What impressed you? Do you think Ottawa neees more “mobile and PP specialist defencemen?

    “At the time, Emery appeared to be the goalie of the future for this franchise; he’d just led the team to Conference and the Cup Finals. Bringing on his coach would have seemed like a good idea at the time.” A good idea at the time to you and others like you…who only know what they read. Emery never led anyone….he and his over inflated ego and bad attitude held the team back. The goalied of the future was into “partying” and did it during the stanley cup playoffs with Snoopoop Doggy but Murray signed him and put some icing on the cake by firing a good NHL man to pacify Emery.

    “Watch the Binghamton Senators this season, and tell me Tim and Bryan Murray haven’t done well for them.”
    I will be watching Bingo and I will ask you right now…who are you excited about. They didn’t make the post season last year and I don’t think Cowan (if he makes the team), Rundbland, Wiechoch will change much. I suspect they will not make the post season yet again…and what will be your resonse if that happens. Who are you really excited about in Bingo?

    Campoli was so bad, they had him playing wing on the 4th line!!!! If it wasn’t for Kuba’s injury, he would have been relegated to the press box!!!!!

    Petersson is smaller than Karlsson and Rundbland is no different another Lee.

    I love your enthusiasm Peter and it is great…but I am not as optimistic about this team as you. I am interested in seeing how Hoffman does…saw him play last year and has big league wheels and shot! I want this team to get younger, faster, bigger, tougher and more talented. Kovlev is a cancer…can you imagine being on the bench for 17 game stretches watching someone like him going through the motions with impunity…it couldn’t be inspiring could it.

    You like the coach…I think he is a bum. He had Kovalev with Fisher together for ever and they both stunk. He changed lines a gazillion times all year…earned bench infractions and was totally lost and confused. He had Campoli and Karlsson together (both small, very soft and afraid). I will take a Zack Smith on one pin over 3 Winchesters and no one wants to answer why he got a 250k raise for scoring 2 goals…was there a threat of Ottawa losing him???????????????????

  16. Visitor says:

    A few more years?

    How much more mediocrity are we to endure?
    Train Alfredsson? Alfredsson will keep drafting soft Swedes and room them with his wife while we endure more entitilement and such.

    Dump Murray unless this team achieves a Cup final.
    GIve Alfie a meaningless office job where he won’t do harm, we can’t afford another Gretzky situation here.
    Go OUTSIDE Ottawa and hire a cunning, canny GM who will tear the team down and build with youth, speed, piss and vinegar. Give me 15 young kids that will eat an opponent’s heart out, that will make mistakes but bloom and be HUNGRY over these old and creaky vets.

    Bobby!

    Why are you questioning Murray? They guy has been in the league 30 years, don’t you think he knows something? Karlsson the spoiled, defensively lost rover. Gonchar on the retirement contract and he can’t be traded. Wiercoch decent but unspectacular. Campoli the forgotten man. Kuba the overpaid and average. Phillips the aging lion wondering where the good days went. Lee the forgotten.

    Yikes!

    I’m willing to be proven wrong, a deep playoff run will do that! But I see nothing by mediocrity and a culture of entittlement in this team! Shame as we had a sterling management team and a classy org top down!

    C’est la vie…that’s just the way it is, let’s go to Shawville and talk about how great the Murrays are mmmhmmm.

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