Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced today that he has re-signed Bryan Murray to a new three-year contract. That’s Bryan Murray – the man who comprehensively dismantled the Ottawa Senators since arriving in 2007. What Murray has done to earn his extension – beyond burn a cup finalist club down to it’s foundation in the space of four years – is beyond me.

Murray was hired in the summer of 2007 to replace the deposed John Muckler. The 2006-07 Senators compiled a 48-25-9 record during the regular season (105 points) and were eventually felled in the finals. That Senators squad featured one of the strongest forward units in the league with Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson. The back-end was anchored by Chris Philips and Anton Volchenkov. Antoine Vermette, Mike Fisher, Patrick Eaves and Chris Kelly were solid depth contributors.

Muckler’s firing was therefore somewhat surprising given the quality of club he had managed to cobble together. The 2006-07 Senators weren’t merely a flash-in-the-pan or sudden Cinderella story: they had spent numerous years finishing at the top of the Eastern standings. A lack of play-off success was the lone stigma attached to the Muckler built Sens and that was (mostly) erased by their 2007 cup run.

The team has obviously been in rapid decline Muckler’s departure, falling from 105 points to 94, 83, 94 and 74-76 points this year. Murray’s tenure in Ottawa has been a train wreck in slow motion, with core pieces fleeing via free agency and trade demands without being replaced. His efforts have been marked by ill-advised trades and signings; moves that were bad bets at the time and more so in retrospect. Lest anyone accuse me of leaning on hindsight, I roundly criticized Murray for the Heatley trade, the Vermette trade, the Chris Neil contract and the Alexi Kovalev deal more or less when they occurred. Here is some more of his misdeeds*.

*excepting the Redden/Chara thing. I believe Muckler was the guy who got that one wrong.

It’s supremely ironic that the Senators organization is rewarding Murray for tearing down the juggernaut team built by his predecessor…whom they fired. In fact, I can’t quite imagine how the management of the Ottawa Senators could have been worse since Muckler’s departure. Hell, a dart-throwing monkey would have roughly the same success rate in terms of decision-making and would likely cost significantly less in terms of salary.

Baffling.

Comments (10)

  1. “Hell, a dart-throwing monkey would have roughly the same success rate…”

    Chill out. Before this season started, Ken Warren at the Ottawa Citizen ranked every draft pick and trade Murray has made — so, for example, it doesn’t include Anderson for Elliot — and it came out to about a reasonable draw, and isn’t nearly as horrible as you’re making it out to be.

    PDF: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/pdf/murraymoves.pdf

    “…a laundry list of F-ups to choose from…” “…the ham fisted manner…”

    Those aren’t “criticisms” on your blog, they’re insults. A “criticism” would be ‘trading for Leclaire was silly, because there were other, better, goalies available’… then you would list them. Then people could respond “you’re right, here’s why” or “you’re wrong, here’s why”.

    Trading Vermette for Leclaire ended up being a disaster, but a decent third line player for a potential starting goalie is a chance a lot of GM’s would take, so I’m not sure what your point is — either here, or on your blog, other than you don’t like Murray.

    Holding Murray responsible for the return on Heatly, who broke his contract, defies a whole lot of logic — almost like holding Keenan responsible for trading Loungo for Bertuzzi and Auld.

    “I believe Muckler was the guy who got that (Zdeno / Redden) one wrong.”

    …you’re right, it turns out it was Muckler who made that decision. Muckler, btw, also signed his own Gonchar in Hasek, and giving up Hossa was a mistake.

    Does Murray deserve a three year contract, or even a three day extension to the one he has now? No. His time is over in Ottawa, and probably the NHL. But he hasn’t set fire to the team bus, or shot a nun. And he can still be fired.

  2. fuck

    that is all I can say about Murray’s resigning and having it spelt out in front of me by the lads at Houses of Hockey.

  3. “Hell, a dart-throwing monkey would have roughly the same success rate…”

    Chill out. Before this season started, Ken Warren at the Ottawa Citizen ranked every draft pick and trade Murray has made — so, for example, it doesn’t include Anderson for Elliot — and it came out to about a reasonable draw, and isn’t nearly as horrible as you’re making it out to be.

    PDF: ottawacitizen.com/pdf/murraymoves.pdf

    “…a laundry list of F-ups to choose from…” “…the ham fisted manner…”

    Those aren’t “criticisms” on your blog, they’re insults. A “criticism” would be ‘trading for Leclaire was silly, because there were other, better, goalies available’… then you would list them. Then people could respond “you’re right, here’s why” or “you’re wrong, here’s why”.

    Trading Vermette for Leclaire ended up being a disaster, but a decent third line player for a potential starting goalie is a chance a lot of GM’s would take, so I’m not sure what your point is — either here, or on your blog, other than you don’t like Murray.

    Holding Murray responsible for the return on Heatly defies a whole lot of logic — almost like holding Keenan responsible for trading Loungo for Bertuzzi and Auld.

    “I believe Muckler was the guy who got that (Zdeno / Redden) one wrong.”

    …you’re right, it turns out it was Muckler who made that decision. Muckler, btw, also signed his own Gonchar in Hasek, and giving up Hossa was a mistake.

    Does Murray deserve a three year contract, or even a three day extension to the one he has now? No. His time is over in Ottawa, and probably the NHL. But he hasn’t set fire to the team bus, or shot a nun. And he can still be fired.

  4. How can you blame Murray for the Heatley fiasco? Had the trade with Edmonton gone through Ottawa would have GREATLY won that deal. But the pre-madonna wanted to hit the sun and babes in South Cal, and his mind was made up.

  5. How on earth can you compare the Gonchar deal to Hasek??? Hasek played phenomenally until he was injured, and he was only getting paid about $2 million in salary.

    More importantly, check out his Wikipedia page:

    “He said that if he were to be re-signed, he would play for a base salary of $500,000 with bonuses.”

    Are you kidding me? The best goalie in league history offers to come back at the LEAGUE MINIMUM. And Murray says no.

    At the very least, you have an elite back-up who is getting paid nothing at all.

    Murray’s only moves that weren’t totally incompetent or mediocre at best were the Meszaros trade and the Anderson trade (which was initiated by Colorado).

  6. @Glen:

    Then you throw him in the *&*#ing press box until a better deal comes along or until he agrees to waive his NTC.

    Cheechoo literally cost us money.

    Michalek, I love, but he’s a 20-goal scorer at best, and is showing signs of being a little injury-prone.

    And a late 2nd rounder??!?!? Plus, we threw in an early 5th rounder to soften the blow for them.

    Absolutely laughable to re-sign Murray for 3 years. A dart-throwing monkey would be an upgrade.

  7. Martin, how is the Anderson deal mediocre or incompetent? I understand Colorado initiated but he still got the deal done. I’m not saying I like the re-signing of Murray, cause I hate it as much as you do but the Anderson deal is a steal for Ottawa.

  8. He is still a better choice than Glen Sather or Brian Burke!

  9. “A better choice than Glen Sather or Brian Burke” explain this statement please Steve.

  10. [...] subject of the extension general manager Bryan Murray has received from the Ottawa Senators.  He was not kind.In the comments, however, the criticism was raised that while Kent was being harsh, he wasn’t [...]

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