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Murray Gives His Status Report on Exit Interviews Day

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager spoke to media Tuesday afternoon on the state of the team in light of Anaheim’s defeat in the Western Conference Final to Chicago.

On how close the Ducks were
We were five wins away, and to be quite honest, we felt like we had Chicago on the ropes in Game 4. With a break or two, and I won’t get into that, we could have been up 3-1, and we played well enough to be up 3-1. But it didn’t happen, and then we kind of lost our game at the end again this year. But we’re a lot closer. The positives are there. We’ve got good young players, and Kesler was obviously dynamic. We made big strides this year. I hate to lose. I’m not a good loser. Never will be. If I become one, I should quit. But now it’s, What can I do from here going forward? It’s far too early yet for me to tell you what I’m thinking we’re gonna do next. I’ve got lots of thoughts in my mind, and I’ve got to sort those out. My job is to make us better, but we’ve got a lot of difficult decisions to make.

Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations David McNab explains the tagging issues affecting the Ducks regarding player contracts and the salary cap:
What it comes down to, it’s a combination of expiring contracts and the cap room that you have. That gives you a pot of money that you can spend on extending players. We have a lot of players whose contracts are expiring. If you have $20 million in expiring contracts, you can extend X amount of players $20 million. That’s starting July 1, all the way up until next June 30. You lost tagging dollars when you acquire a player in a trade who is on a multi-year contract or when you bring up a player who is on a multi-year contract in the middle of the season. We don’t have a big pot of tagging dollars to work with, so we have to itemize, figure out what you can do with each player and how much you have left. There is just not a lot this year. And it’s not just us, but lots of teams. It’s a word that never gets used because it’s difficult to explain, but it’s out there and other teams have issues as well. You just have to be very careful.

If you have a certain amount of players whose contracts are expiring at the end of the 2015-16 season, the league is not going to let you sign an unlimited amount of players. They make sure that when the cap starts the following year, you’ve only matched dollar-for-dollar with the players whose contracts are expiring. If you don’t extend anybody, you would have that money. So if you want to extend so that there are not issues the following year, you have to really monitor it. This would all be regarding players whose contracts are expiring in the 2015-16 season.

On the status of Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau
I haven’t talked to the coaching staff yet. I thought the coaching staff made great strides this year. But I’ve still got to talk to them. We’ve got to meet later. I’ve got to sort things out in my mind. I’m not one to do things quickly. I’m evaluating the whole hockey team. That’s not a yes or a now. I’m evaluating everything. I’ve got to talk to some players, I’ve got to weight everything. I’m not thinking about anything right now. I might sound slow to you guys, but it takes me awhile to sit back and replay everything. I will say I was fairly happy with the overall performance of my coaching staff this year.

On Game 7
That’s why I wanted to get it done in 6 because Game 7 worried me. I’m not gonna lie. Especially with the team we were playing and the types of players we played against. We didn’t react properly whatsoever. All structure went right out the window. I wasn’t impressed by it at all. This is a team. Everything we do is as a team. The unanswered question is still the structure when we get under stressful periods. When you’re not playing well, you have to fall back on your structure. It failed us at critical moments. That’s what I’m going to evaluate. And you just don’t evaluate it overnight. I’ve got to think about it.

On injuries the players dealt with
Nate Thompson
has got a shoulder problem, and he was gutsy and had a great layoff considering. He’s gone for an MRI, and we’ll know more if we have to do something more with him. We’ll know more later. That’s all I will discuss today, but there are two more that if you ask me in a week I will tell you about. If you’re not seeing ice bags and banged up people then you’re not winning, and we had lots of that.

On signing players over the summer
We’ve got some issues going forward here player-wise. I have huge tagging issues, not this year but next year. You have to address those this year because we didn’t do that in ’06-07 and we ended up in deep caca in ’08-09. We have those issues, and David [McNab] will get into that. There are players I’m gonna try to sign. I have a priority list, and I can only go so far on that list, then see where I’m at when it comes to tagging. That’s my No. 1 priority, and then I’m going to sit down with the coaches. You have to prioritize certain people, and try to get them signed. Then you have to see what you have left as far as dollars. When it comes to tagging, one of the most critical things is having contracts come up that are done. That gives you more tagging dollars.

On whether the Ducks need an elite defensemen to win
When we won, we had two of them [in Pronger and Niedermayer]. I’d take one right now. Yeah, it would be nice, but if you can tell me where to get one, somebody please tell me and I’ll go do it. I’m not afraid, as you know, to make a move. We got lucky a few years ago to have those two guys. Right now, I’m trying to grow it from within. I think I have a few possibilities to become those type of people. Right now I’m building from within until I hear a name pop up where we can do some maneuvering.

On the possibility of signing Beauchemin and Beleskey
Boy, it’s gonna be hard. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. I do not regret not trading either one of them. I wanted to give this team every chance to run at the Cup, and they did. You can criticize us for not moving them, but Burkie [Brian Burke] told me 10 years ago this was gonna be like the NFL and you’re going to have to let free agents go. And it’s happening to us. We’ll take a shot, and we’ll take a shot quickly. But I have a lot of issues in front of me tagging-wise when it comes to that. In a perfect world, I’d keep everybody and just add. But it’s not a perfect world, so I’ve got to stickhandle.

On James Wisniewski
I’ve got to commend the guy. Knowing Wiz the way I do, it was worrisome, but the professionalism he showed was outstanding. We’ve got to take the blame – the coaching staff and I do – for hurrying him into the lineup before he was in shape. He’s in great shape now. He worked his butt off. I wish he’d gotten an opportunity because I know he would have played well. The other factor is, I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t realize Simon [Depres] would jump in a play like this. He just took a job. He was excellent. We got kind of set in our defensive pairs and the balance of our pairs, and kind of ran with it. It just didn’t work out for Wiz, but next year is another year.

Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations David McNab explains the tagging issues affecting the Ducks regarding player contracts and the salary cap:
What it comes down to, it’s a combination of expiring contracts and the cap room that you have. That gives you a pot of money that you can spend on extending players. We have a lot of players whose contracts are expiring. If you have $20 million in expiring contracts, you can extend X amount of players $20 million. That’s starting July 1, all the way up until next June 30. You lost tagging dollars when you acquire a player in a trade who is on a multi-year contract or when you bring up a player who is on a multi-year contract in the middle of the season. We don’t have a big pot of tagging dollars to work with, so we have to itemize, figure out what you can do with each player and how much you have left. There is just not a lot this year. And it’s not just us, but lots of teams. It’s a word that never gets used because it’s difficult to explain, but it’s out there and other teams have issues as well. You just have to be very careful.

If you have a certain amount of players whose contracts are expiring at the end of the 2015-16 season, the league is not going to let you sign an unlimited amount of players. They make sure that when the cap starts the following year, you’ve only matched dollar-for-dollar with the players whose contracts are expiring. If you don’t extend anybody, you would have that money. So if you want to extend so that there are not issues the following year, you have to really monitor it. This would all be regarding players whose contracts are expiring in the 2015-16 season.

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