Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray discussed the dismissal of head coach Bruce Boudreau and the state of the franchise on Friday, April 29.
"Bruce was a good coach. I sincerely thanked him for his years here. He won a lot of hockey games, won four division titles, and he’s a very passionate hockey guy who cares. It’s a difficult day."Opening remarks
Obviously, the last 36 hours have been very difficult. With the Samuelis, myself and Mike Schulman, ultimately, we relieved Bruce of his duties this morning. Bruce was a good coach. I sincerely thanked him for his years here. He won a lot of hockey games, won four division titles, and he’s a very passionate hockey guy who cares. It’s a difficult day. Bottom line, for myself, and when I talked with my bosses, I didn’t feel, going forward, making the playoffs again, that it would be a good situation. I just think the last four years, the way they ended, all very similar, I didn’t think it would be a good situation to go forward in. In no way, shape or form is this pointing a gun at Bruce’s head. Let’s get that perfectly clear. But, you have to start somewhere. Regular season success is okay. I’ve told you all many times, for me, making the playoffs is the most important thing, and then anything can happen. For this group going forward, it wasn’t going to work. He’ll land on his feet. Bruce will be fine. He’s a good coach.Was this an uncomfortable situation for you?
It’s always tough. Just like when I let Randy [Carlyle] go. When you’ve had success with somebody, it’s never easy. Ultimately, my job is to look forward for what’s best for the group. That’s why it’s uncomfortable because there’s been some success. Again, I want playoff success.Was it a matter that he had to take the team to the finals? Or was it the way you guys went out?
It’s the way we go out. It’s the way it happens. Let’s face it … I’d like to know where the heck they were in Games 1 and 2. The players are going to have to answer that in the next four or five days. Where were they? They showed up in Game 7, but where was that passion? That controlled emotion? Where the heck was that? They’re going to have to be held accountable, too.How much is this on players, the leadership in the room, or on you?
It’s on all of us. I’m not pointing a gun. There are lots of people involved in this not going well. We’re all held accountable.
"Regular season success is okay. I’ve told you all many times, for me, making the playoffs is the most important thing, and then anything can happen. For this group going forward, it wasn’t going to work."When did you first determine that this move had to be necessary?
I started worrying in Games 1 and 2. I started really worrying. We sort of rallied, although I didn’t think we played that well. I thought our goaltender played really good. And then we won three in a row. Game 6, we didn’t play well whatsoever. As I said, the right passion was there in Game 7. It’s easier to replace a coach than it is to replace 20 guys, but when you look at your two best players – their performances in these Game 6s and 7s over the last three seasons, is it a matter of having to change the core in any way?
There are definite concerns in that area. The core has to be held responsible. They have to be better. Maybe I haven’t been hard enough in the last few years, but they’re going to hear some different words this time.What are you looking for in your next coach, and when would you like to have one in place?
I’m not in any hurry whatsoever. Yesterday, I met with the family. We had talked the night before after the game. I went down to San Diego, and I just decided, in fairness to Bruce, that this happen now. What about the rest of the coaching staff?
I haven’t made any decisions at all. I’m going to take a while here to meet with the players starting Saturday. I’ll meet them all over the next three or four days, get some thoughts, and we’ll determine what happens with the rest of the coaching staff.What do you want out of a coach that’s different than what Bruce brought?
I think he did a lot of things right. There are so many different types of coaches out there. You go from a Randy to a Bruce, and then you see the new guys out there, like [Jon] Cooper in Tampa. There are a whole bunch of different types of coaches. We have to meet – my hockey people and I – and decide what we think we need going forward. This was just about … I couldn’t see us going forward this way. I handled that first. We’ll move on. I’m in no rush whatsoever. I’m going to meet the players and take a deep breath.
"There are definite concerns in that area. The core has to be held responsible. They have to be better. Maybe I haven’t been hard enough in the last few years, but they’re going to hear some different words this time."Do you expect to make any wholesale changes to the team?
We haven’t talked about that yet either. I have some contractual situations that will dictate some things, and David McNab and I have met a little bit on that already. That will determine some situations. I don’t think it will be the same team, that’s for sure.Would it be too early to say whether Paul [MacLean] or Trent [Yawney] would be considered candidates?
It’s a wide-open book. My staff … it’s their job as they go about their business – my hockey ops staff and my pro guys – to identity, not only when they’re watching teams on the road, to [identify coaches]. We have a list, and we’ll get busy on that list next week.What common threads did you see the past four years in the Game 6s and 7s that you lost?
It was almost the mentality was that they weren’t going out to win. They were going out not to lose, and you cannot play hockey that way. You cannot. That’s just the group. It was very disturbing to watch.
The core foundation you have here – your star players – do you still believe the answers are here within the room with those guys?
We’ve got some very good core players. When they play, we have some very good core players. Or they wouldn’t have turned it around like they did when it looked like all was lost for a while there. You don’t do what that group did unless you have some talent.How did Bruce take the news when you informed him?
Bruce is a hockey guy. He knew. He’s a hockey guy.