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Senators name Dorion general manager

Murray steps down citing family, health concerns

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Pierre Dorion was named the Ottawa Senators' eighth general manager Sunday after Bryan Murray, citing family and health concerns, stepped down from the role.

Murray, 73, will remain with the Senators in an advisory role. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer two years ago and continues to have bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments. Assistant general manager Randy Lee and senior adviser of hockey operations Daniel Alfredsson will continue to work with Dorion.

Dorion, 43, has been with the Senators for nine seasons, the past two as assistant general manager.

"The reason we are doing this today is we want our fans to know that our management is in place and as most of you are aware, Bryan has been the biggest influence in my professional and private life," Dorion said. "He has decided to step down. I'm so thankful and extremely humbled to be following in Bryan's footsteps. Having to learn from someone who will and should be in the Hall of Fame is something I can only be thankful for. Bryan has been a tremendous mentor. He has taught me what it takes to be an excellent GM … I am stepping into big shoes."

The Senators finished fifth in the Atlantic Division with a 38-35-9 record and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Dorion said no immediate decisions would be made on the future of coach Dave Cameron and his staff.

Dorion will have exit meetings with Cameron, his staff and players Monday.

"There's an evaluation process," Dorion said. "Sometimes we're quick to judge. There will be changes, but I think we have to do the proper changes and we have to take our time doing it, and make sure that every change we make is the right one.

"As far as the future, anyone who falls under the umbrella of hockey in this organization will be evaluated. We can all talk about accountability, but for me results bring accountability. We are in the business of winning and positive results. People who know me know that I'm driven, sensitive, passionate, demanding, but most importantly for me it's usually black or white.

"For us not making the playoffs was simply unacceptable. I wasn't hired here to bring the team to the playoffs, but to succeed in the playoffs."

In Dorion, the Senators have a man who continues in the family business. His father, the late Pierre Dorion Sr., was the head scout for the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Dorion's only jobs have been in hockey. While attending the University of Ottawa, the native of the Ottawa suburb of Orleans scouted for the Ottawa Senators of the Central Junior Hockey League and the Niagara Falls Thunder of the Ontario Hockey League in the early '90s before moving on to scouting positions with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and the Senators.

"I think [my father] would be very proud. I remember when the franchise first came, living in Ottawa, if I'm not mistaken, he was chief scout of the Leafs at the time, I remember one day I said, 'Dad, I'm going to be GM of the Senators one day,'" an emotional Dorion said. "You say a lot of things. I told my buddies five years ago that I would win the Masters. Some things are more achievable than others. Anybody who's played golf with me knows I have zero chance of winning the Masters.

"I think [my father] would be very proud of what I've accomplished. He's definitely looking down upon us, and I think he'd be very proud of the relationship that I've developed with Bryan and moving forward have as much success as possible."

Dorion said he is inheriting a team with a good foundation in place with players including two-time Norris Trophy winning defenseman Erik Karlsson -- a top contender for the award this season -- No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson and prospects including defenseman Thomas Chabot and forward Colin White, each selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

"I think there are many positives with this team. We have Erik Karlsson. He's the best defensemen in the NHL," Dorion said. "He's one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. We have Craig Anderson, who is second in saves in the League. I don't know if that's good or bad, but he did stop a lot of pucks. We have a great nucleus of players and I really think through Bryan's work, we're on the right path on getting to the Cup.

"Things haven't gone according to plan this past season, but for me, it's just a [bump] on the road. I do we feel we have a good hockey team, but we haven't achieved the level of success that is expected. I don't think there's much sense in dwelling on the past, but we need to learn lessons from this past season and never repeat them."

Murray, a native of Shawville, Quebec, in the Ottawa Valley, said spending more time with his wife, Geri, their daughters and grandchildren played a big part in his decision to hand the job over to Dorion.

"It's time to step aside and have a different role with the organization," Murray said. "I say this every day in the NHL has been a challenge and it has been great. It has taken some time to come to the decision, but it's time for my family. Geri has been unbelievable. I remember back in '78-79, I would like to go to Regina and coach full time for one year and see how it goes and she said That's great, leave me alone here in Shawville' and I did, and we ended up having a long career out of it."

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