Bryan Murray Speaks On Tim Murray’s Day

Talking to Ian Mendes on TSN 1200's 'The Drive', Senators GM Bryan Murray addressed the Tim Murray GM hiring in Buffalo and the Senators' plans to handle the loss.

To listen to the full interview, you can do so downloading the link here or by listening to the embedded stream at the bottom of this post.

Normally, I'd include my thoughts in bold, but I was going to work on a separate Tim Murray post, so this will have to suffice. 

On his initial reaction Tim Murray leaving the organization and at what point he knew it was certain the organization would lose him…

“Oh, probably a few days back, but until a contract is officially signed, it’s hard to know for sure. Other things come into play, but I talked to Tim late last night and after he had his final meeting with ownership and Pat LaFontaine, it was confirmed. I think I had a feeling that he was their man now for the last few days, at least. I think it was a little premature as far as the media were concerned because they were announcing it a while ago, but I think the last three or four days from my point of view (when I knew).”

On the organization’s perspective on handling employees who have a chance to leave and giving them that opportunity, but whether there is any hesitancy to allow them to leave for a division rival…

“Well, of course. I know Tim’s capabilities. He’s been loyal, a good worker, a very strong evaluator, and a big part of my career in the NHL. He’s been with me for probably 17 of his 18 years in the league or thereabouts. He started with me in Detroit as a part-time guy in the first year and grown into a very important and valuable member of the staff; a guy that I counted on a great deal as far as talking about and evaluating players- whether it be the draft or trades or whatever it may be. It’s always difficult to let that kind of person leave your organization. In turn, part of our life in the NHL and responsibility… it’s not responsibility, that’s not the right word… but part of our criteria, as far as I’m concerned, is to help young people on their path to be at the highest possible position. And when Pat LaFontaine asked me permission to start with, Mr. Melnyk was onboard with me and we thought that you’re not in a position to be standing in the way of anybody and we certainly didn’t want to do that. At the end of the interview process, and they went through a lot of candidates, Tim was the guy and I’m proud of that. I think it’s a great achievement for him. It’s certainly something that shows what the Ottawa Senators are all about as well and the type of staff that we have here.”

On whether there was ever a succession plan in place in which Tim would ever take over for Bryan as GM of the Ottawa Senators…

“Well, I think he would have been considered like anybody else, but I don’t think there was a plan per se. I think there was a time that that was a possibility, but it’s like anything else in our lives. There’s only 30 of these jobs in the world and when something crops up immediately and you get a chance to take it, you probably should take it.”

On how awkward it will be to pick up the phone and try and engineer a trade with Tim…

“Well, I think Chuck Fletcher worked with me for 10 years and he’s the manager in Minnesota now. David Poile and I worked together for 10 years in Washington years back and we talk on a regular basis, so I think having that ability, knowing that person… I think you have to be careful that you don’t let him overwhelm you in evaluation or whatever it may be, but I think the opportunity is there and the comfort level is there. Most managers understand that when you make a trade, the idea is to get what you need for your organization knowing full well that you have to give something up that fits the need for the other organization. It’s not like you’re trying to beat the other person up. It’s just you’re just trying to make a fit work, so I feel comfortable that we can (make a deal) in the future.”

On what the game plan is now in Ottawa with Bryan Murray’s status and his intentions moving forward long-term…

“Well, I’ve had conversations in that direction. There’s no question about that. There’s nothing really to say right now. I haven’t got anything concrete done. Obviously, we have a young team that is growing and getting better game-to-game now, so I like what we’re doing there. Whether I’ll be part of that in the future, we’ll have to wait and see. But we do have a plan in place for filling the role or taking some of the responsibilities that Tim had and that will be accommodated fairly quickly, I would think.”

On ever considering moving away from the GM role and taking a more senior role…

“Well I’m a very open-minded guy and you know there are many options that we all have in our lives and in our careers. Certainly I’m all ears talking about where and what we can do, but I’m certainly not in a position… this is a day for Tim and (him) going to Buffalo and doing that. It’s not a day for any great pronouncement on my part.”

On it being a great day for Tim, but also being a great day for Randy Lee and Pierre Dorion…

“The thing about our staff, I believe, in Ottawa is that we have excellent people. We have guys that have worked very hard. We have worked in committee most of the time. There is no one individual who has outperformed or deserves much more credit than the others. I think they’re all part of the management committee, the way I try to run it. When we talk about players, when we talk about drafting, when we talk about trades, we are in a group. We talk and we get consensus and opinion and then I have to make a decision based on the information that I have. That will continue and those two men that you mentioned, Randy Lee and Pierre Dorion, are both very, very knowledgeable and hardworking and (are) good people. Certainly, they’re going to be a big part of what we do in the future.”

On the possibility that Tim Murray could bring Luke Richardson over to Buffalo and whether he’d ever let Luke Richardson walkaway and become a head coach elsewhere…

“Of course not. We don’t stand in the way of anybody. There’s a time and place for things like that to happen. I have no doubt that Luke Richardson is going to be a head coach in the NHL in the not-to-distant future. The job that he has done for us in Binghamton is outstanding and I really think that he’ll be considered by a variety of teams. All I know at the moment is that every (NHL) team has a head coach and nobody has pursued anybody on our staff to take a role, so it’s a good question, but there’s not much of an answer that I can give because there’s no interest from anybody at this point in time.”

On whether this team has turned the corner…

“It is. It’s unfortunate that we lost the game in overtime last night. We should not have lost that hockey game. We had, I think four goal posts. We had, I don’t know how many point-blank chances to score, but I said after the game, “That’s hockey.” Some nights, you’re the better team by a long piece and you don’t win and to me, that was one of the nights. I have to say, the Avalanche are competitive as heck and they really stick to it. They’ve got some high-end skill, in particular on their top two lines and if you don’t kind of open a gap, which we weren’t able to do – the (score) sat at 3-2 too long – but, I think the team has played well. We played very strong in the middle of the game. We were creative. We moved the puck and were skating. Yeah, I see this as a team that is getting better and better.”

On the emergence of Cody Ceci alleviating the need for a puck-moving defenceman and the play of Mark Stone alleviating the need for a top six for a top nine forward…

“I know there were lots of comments about trades and wondering why I didn’t (make one), but we saw these young guys playing in the minors. We saw that they had the potential to be on the team this year. I think your point about Cody Ceci, I was really concerned about getting another defenceman. He has stepped in and played, to me, at least as well as anybody I could have traded for, for sure. He’s a big-time offensive player in the future. I think Mark Stone coming in the way he has, shows again, that we had a player there that you don’t have to go try to find from another team. I believe we have a couple of other young guys in Binghamton as well that are almost on the bubble of being able to come in and take a job on somebody else here. So patience sometimes is very important and an opportunity for these young players is very important. And we hope that I don’t have to make another trade in my history in Ottawa, we just have to let our players play.”

On the number of free agents opened up contract talks with anyone who’s an impending UFA in the next 18 months…

“No, we have not. You know there’s a time when we’re going to do that. Again, you sit down as an organization and you decide who and when you do that type of thing. When it’s the right time, we’ll do it- whether it be Chris Phillips or any of our other unrestricted guys, but it’s certainly not until we kind of get a little further along into the year.”

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