by Todd Anderson
After guiding the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup final as head coach this season, Bryan Murray will now try to bring the team to the next level as general manager.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced the appointment of Murray as the seventh general manager in team history today during a news conference at Scotiabank Place.
"Bryan shares our focus and drive in building a championship team here in Ottawa," Melnyk said via telephone during the news conference. "His over 25 years in combined years as a head coach and general manager was simply something we couldn't overlook as we build to the future."
Murray says he'll miss coaching but he thinks he can play a big part in the future success of the club as general manager.
"Obviously, I have great respect for this franchise and what they've achieved up to this point in time," Murray says. "I hope I can bring it to the next level, which is winning the Stanley Cup, and help to continue making this a good franchise.
"I really think the general manager can have an impact throughout the entire organization. I think one of my real strengths has been to evaluate players, make decisions and have fairly good results. I think my trades and my drafting and the people that worked with me made a big impact with the teams I was with in Florida, Detroit and Anaheim. What you do is not just win today, you have to plan longer than that."
Murray plans to hire a new head coach to fill the position he's leaving. He'll meet with several top candidates over the next couple of weeks and hopes to have a new head coach in place soon. Murray will recommend that both assistant coaches - Greg Carvel and John Paddock - be kept on board and also plans to hire an assistant GM.
"I want a head coach that is a competitive guy, relates to players, has an interest in teaching and is a good person to deal with on a daily basis," Murray says. "He has to be a guy who is willing to work hard at the game.
"Hopefully, it won't take a long time to interview and evaluate the top candidates and make a decision. It will not be me (coaching) at this point."
After spending two seasons behind the Ottawa bench, Murray was asked if he would find it difficult to stand back and allow room for a new head coach to do his work.
"I think as a GM all you want is input once in a while to help your coach but you have to allow him to be the coach," Murray says. "That's the way it's going to be. I hope we have meetings on somewhat of a regular basis but when the puck is dropped to play the games and he's got to decide on a lineup to put on the ice, he's the coach and he's got to be allowed to do that."
Former general manager John Muckler will be pursuing other opportunities outside the Senators organization. Melnyk says he is thankful for what Muckler has done for the team.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Muckler for his substantial contributions to this organization," Melnyk says. "In his five years in Ottawa, John proved to all of us that he is one of the most aggressive and accomplished general managers in the history of the National Hockey League."