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Murray Holds Press Conference
By Michael Walters
Today the Anaheim Ducks General Manager Bob Murray held a press conference to discuss several topics about the team.
What did you like/dislike about the 2019-20 season?
“The record wasn’t where I wanted it to be, or where anyone wanted it to be. The question is why? Again, I’m encouraged. There were some stretches of very good hockey played by this group. Definite steps in the right direction of playing faster, quicker and doing some things the proper way. Far too inconsistent. We’d play good games against good teams and show we could play, and then we failed to show up. Why? Special teams, a major concern. If you put us in the middle of the pack on special teams, we could be one of the teams playing right now. We’re so far down the totem pole, and that’s inexcusable. That’s on the coaches, players and everybody. That has to be fixed. Certain things are going to change. I’m going to be pushing very hard. The inconsistencies cannot be allowed to happen with the way they were.”
Depth & Injuries:
“The other thing that didn’t work properly, and again, our depth coming up with all our young guys. We had injuries again, but that was better. That was an improvement. Man-games [lost due to injuries] were down. That was better. It was always our kids who were our best players when they were coming up, but then you have too many kids. You can’t play with all kids in this league. The league is too good. For a stretch there, we had far too many kids in the lineup. Now it’s going to be difficult with budgets and things. Who knows what’s going to happen with the American Hockey League. Those guys are a year older, so that should help. That was a little bit of a problem. Enough of the excuses with that. We have to fix that. It was enough of some really good hockey played that I expect a big step forward next year.”
On Restricted Free Agents(RFAs):
“Nothing to announce at this point. We know who they are. We know who has arbitration rights and who doesn’t.”
The Team Core:
“The core players have to elevate their game. They know it. They know it after talking to me. They have to elevate. Take the rebuilding or whatever everybody is calling this. The retooling. It’s no excuse. The core guys have to pick up their games. They can’t be so inconsistent. If they show more consistency and more drive all the time, everybody else around them will follow. A lot it is on them. They’re aware. I’m going to help them.”
What does Kodie Curran bring to the team’s defense?
“We felt another one of our issues was that our defense was too young. And with young forwards, it really hurt us. We’ve kind of shored up our depth on defense. It’s going to take a lot of defensemen to get through next year. Curran is a late bloomer. We’ve known about him for years and his improvement over the last couple of years in the Swedish Hockey League. You saw the numbers and awards he won. We’re quite excited about that. I expect some really good competition on defense [next] year. We should be deep enough. I think the schedule is going to be fairly tough next year.”
How did your interest in Curran develop?
“Jan-Åke Danielson mentioned him last year. He thought he was coming on with Rogle at the end of last year. This year, the notes were regular once a month. [Laughs]. ‘Bob, we’ve got to sign this guy. Bob, we’ve got to sign this guy.’ When I was over there one time, I went and saw him with Jan-Åke. I said ‘Wow.’ He’s a late bloomer who figured it out. I talked to him yesterday morning. He had some issues with a Russian team and a Swedish team with his rights. It took him a while to get this done. I give him credit because he bought himself out of a little bit of trouble with the Russian team. He wanted to be here. He’s learned how to train. Some of us take longer than others. He’s figured it out. He gives us more options on the backend. For a couple years, we haven’t been as good as we usually are, but we’re going to fix that.”
“Jan-Åke saw it the best with him playing in the other European leagues. Coming to the SHL and watching him the year before, the step-by-step improvement in his game. One game I was at last year he was dominant. I thought ‘Oh wow, what the hell has he been doing his whole life?’ It’ll be interesting back here. He’s a Calgary boy. He won’t have a problem with the ice size. It took Jani Hakanpaa a little while to figure out our ice. Kodie shouldn’t have that problem. I’m enthused about the depth on our defense. It’s going to be good competition. The young guys aren’t out of it. They’re going to have to earn their stripes just like everybody else around here.”
On Coach Eakins:
I thought he was very organized and well prepared. I thought the communication was good early. It got off track a little bit. As I’ve said before, he had to get rid of some of the things that came from Edmonton. I think those are gone now. He was very hard on some young people in Edmonton and it kind of backfired on him. I’m not saying it’s all his fault, by the way.”
“He took the foot off the gas a bit with them. He’s going to be much more consistent and on point with everybody next year. He had to get a few things out of the way, and he did. We were a decent hockey team a lot of nights. That’s why I expect much more next year. We showed we could play the game. They have to get better on special teams. They’re working on it. You can’t watch certain teams’ power plays. I’ll use Boston [as an example]. That’s a pretty damn good power play. We don’t have those players, so we have to have a different sort of power play. You have to work with what you have. You can’t recreate a Boston, Tampa Bay or Washington power play. We can’t try to do that because we don’t have those people at this point. We’re getting some. We’re starting to draft some of those high-skilled people. For now, we’re going to have to do it a bit different. That’s my message. We can get better on special teams. That’s on coaching and the players. That’s something they’re working on.”
Murray stated he tried to stay out of the locker room this season but felt “that was a mistake. Some of the kids were allowed to get away with murder this year, and that’s over. Accountability in this group is going to change.”
Quotes provided by the Anaheim Ducks.
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June 3rd, 2020