Monday, January 24, 2011

Murray and Melnyk Come Out Of The Cold

After weeks of silence from both Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray, two embarrassing losses forced them to talk to the press, and predictably, their words went a long ways towards calming an angry and confused fan base.

You've all read what Melnyk said, "staying the course" yadda yadda yadda, "we have a plan" etc.

That was all fine and dandy but what had to be concerning was the tone that the Senators had basically thrown in the towel on the season by not making a change behind the bench or in the GM position.

It makes sense in one way because it's harder to find proper candidates mid-season and now is not really the time commit to a new coach or GM long term. I get that. But what I don't get is the notion that losing is inevitable and acceptable for the duration of the season.

It may get the team a lottery pick but what kind of damage will be done to the organization once it becomes okay with losing games?

And going for a total rebuild does not mean they will be successful at it. There are just as many teams that could never get out of "rebuild mode" once they started as there are teams that became elite through the process.

Bu there is plenty of time to debate these points. The Senators are headed for at least a slight rebuild anyways. The toothpaste is already out of the tube.

One of the more confusing points of this whole saga was Roy MacGregor's article in the Globe and Mail about how there was a plan to keep Murray in a senior advisor role once a new GM was hired during the off-season. If a new GM was a foregone conclusion, why isn't he being hired now to direct the rebuild during its most crucial time - the lead-up to the trade deadline?

The most obvious answer is the guy Melnyk wants is unavailable at the moment. The less obvious answer is that MacGregor got it wrong and that there has been no decision made about the future of Bryan Murray.

We may have gotten a hint after today's practice when Bryan Murray met with the media and said a few revealing things.

One, and most importantly, is that he wanted to remain GM and that he believed a "one year rebuild" was possible. He seemed very aggravated with Mr. MacGregor and "wished Roy was here", presumably so he could give him an explicit answer directly. Judging by Murray's tone, this is a guy who wants to fight for his job and doesn't sound like he is on the verge of retirement just yet. In fact, at times he was downright hostile.

Secondly, Murray said the players will either "perform for the coach or sit on the sidelines".

That's a veteran GM talking there and it is absolutely the right thing to say.

If you're not going to fire your coach (and I've gone on record saying he should have), then you have to stand behind him, and do it firmly.

Leaving a coach twisting in the wind is no good for either the coach or the players. Even if it's the wrong decision, there's no sense waffling about it.

It's a bizarre situation, but Murray is at least saying all the right things for the moment.


Sens said...

Enough of Bryan as GM.

You talk about a culture of losing, he's the chief architect. He's turned this team into a circus off the ice and a mediocre pile of dung on the ice.

So he's won two playoff games in three years, has never won the big game in 30 years and now we're supposed to believe that he's suddenly morphed into a winner?
And that this will take one year?

Please. Get this guy away from my team and start a rebuild already.
I'd rather watch 20 young guys than this core of decrepit corpses.

Anonymous said...

Can we get a manager that isn't 80 years old and that actually holds himself accountable?

Would be great...

Anonymous said...

Murray is a master of deflection.

You saw it today (yesterday I guess) when he huffed and puffed as if someone had stolen his Gravol.
Roy MacGregor is a VERY reputable news source. This isn't Joe Blow of the Ottawa XPress or so on.
I would take his word on the topic, and not Murray's.

Given "The Bryan's" propensity to throw players, coaches and former GMs under the bus with an alarming basis and his compelete inability to hold himself accountable, you can be sure there is probably more than an inkling of truth to Roy's story. Murray's attacks on Wayne Scanlan, who has been doing the hockey beat for a long, long, long time are also shameful.

This is what we've descended to in this town though, for the 'privilege' of having someone from the region manage our team.

It is, quite franly, embarassing.
Embarrassing that a 72-year old man cannot bring himself to hold himself accountable and embarrassing that half of the local media, plus radio, won't do the rest of the job.

I am, for the first time in a long time, ashamed to be a Senators fan.


Anonymous said...

I'm really concerned about the "rebuild fever" that seems to be spreading across the city.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have Landeskog on our roster, but like you said, going through rebuild mode doesn't always work.

People often point to the Pittsburgh situation. I think people forget that Pittsburgh landed Crosby in a post-lockout lottery, in which every team had a chance to get him. Pittsburgh was really lucky to grab a once in a generation player, for their turnaround.

On the flip side, Columbus drafted Rick Nash #1 overall in 2002. I think it's safe to say that they are still in rebuild mode. Same with Atlanta. Same with the Islanders. They've been in rebuild mode since 1995.

I'm worried about this loser's attitude, or losing culture that seems to be seeping into the Sens. I think that's the collateral damage of tanking.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I loved to land the high draft pick, but it should also be done the right way. That means that non performance should be acknowledged and should be held accountable.

That means Murray should be dismissed. He shouldn't be around the team while it retools. The message needs to be sent to the players that people are held accountable in this organization.

Leeder could have been the interim guy, if money needed to be saved until the summer.

I also agree with some of the other comments with regards to taking ownership of ones mistakes.

It's astonishing to see this guy continually deflect blame. He's relentless. What happened to "the buck stops here".

He's in charge. It's his mess. If the team was doing well, he would get the credit. If it's doing poorly, it's ultimately on him.

I think, even on a PR level, he'd be better off saying "I take full responsibility, I'm in charge".

Anonymous said...

Anon, people do point to the pens, the hawks, the caps, the up-and-coming avs, the flyers, the bolts, shall I go on? All good, young fast, exciting teams on the up, and the past 2 stanley cup winners, and 3 of the past four finalists.

A 1 year rebuild?! Does that asshole actually expect people to believe that? Or worse: does he? Can we just fire his ass already? This guy is ottawa's mike milbury. I can live through a rebuild, we all can, contrary to what some are saying, but I will have a very hard time doing it if BM is still our GM.


Anonymous said...


It's funny that you mention Mike Milbury. Last week, when the Sens played the Habs, I decided to watch the RDS feed instead of Sportsnet, just to get a different perspective.
At the intermission, they actually compared Murray to Mike Milbury.

It was refreshing to hear such candor from the mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

(atlanta, NYI, CBJ) What do the teams that failed when attempting a rebuild have in common? They are all small market teams on life support with owners that arent willing to spend for a contender or even a playoff contender. With regards to the islanders, Garth Snow is their GM. The teams that fail never actually have a fan base.

Anonymous said...

and.. how BM compare to his infamous would-be mentor?