"I take pride in the fact that the building is full all the time. You look at the development of the young players. Look at some of the guys and the (Olympic) recognition they've gotten recently. I've enjoyed every minute of my job. It's a tough job to lose, but I'm appreciative. I don't blame the players. It's my job to get wins. I didn't get enough of them."
-- Andy Murray
Andy Murray did a lot of good things in his three-plus years behind the St. Louis Blues
' bench, but in the end he took responsibility for the team's failures this season, especially on their home ice.
The Blues own an NHL-worst 6-13-3 home record, a deadly way to operate for a team that believes it should be a playoff contender.
"We just lost too many games we were in a position to win," Murray told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Early in the year, we had difficulty scoring. Recently, the defensive play hasn't been as good. Way too many losses at home, too many games we were leading.
"I really believe in this group of players, really believe they're going to get it done," he added. "I'm convinced of that. But, we're a .500 team and we haven't played good enough. I'm responsible for the record. Ultimately, that's what I'm judged on."
Murray went 118-102-38 as the Blues' coach after taking over on Dec. 11, 2006. He departed Saturday in style, leaving a hand-written note for his successor, interim coach Davis Payne
, on the desk in the coaches' office at Scottrade Center.
Murray and Payne have developed a strong relationship working together in the organization.
"If I was to come in and say what was wrong and what needs changing I wouldn't be giving the due respect to what has gone on here," Payne said. "Andy Murray did a fabulous job in building this foundation. He was a mentor to me and taught me a great deal. He put this organization in a great position to step forward. The class he showed upon exiting and the note he left on the coaches' desk in there is certainly something I'll cherish. The contents, they touched me. It was a classy move."
Even though he lost his job Saturday, Murray leaves the organization with his chest held out and his head held high. He was a big part of the turnaround from a moribund franchise that could barely sell any seats to a team that plays to a rocking crowd nearly every night.
The Blues jumped from 15th in the West to sixth last season by going 25-9-7 over the final 41 games. It was their first playoff berth in five years. David Backes
and Erik Johnson
were named to the U.S. Olympic team Friday.
"I take pride in the fact that the building is full all the time," Murray said. "You look at the development of the young players. Look at some of the guys and the (Olympic) recognition they've gotten recently. I've enjoyed every minute of my job. It's a tough job to lose, but I'm appreciative. I don't blame the players. It's my job to get wins. I didn't get enough of them.
"But it's going to happen. Good things are happening," he added. "The team is a save or a goal away from six or seven more wins, certainly at home. The fact is we're not. But I think they're right around the corner. They'll have playoff hockey here this year, there's no question in my mind."
Contact Dan Rosen at: firstname.lastname@example.org.