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Thread: The Murray Myth

  1. #1
    Legend JohnnyHolmes's Avatar
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    Default The Murray Myth

    I know I'm one of the few that doesn't really appreciate the talents of Mr. Murray, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why so many people are in love with this guy.

    He's absolutely awful as a GM. He gets bent over in practically every trade he makes. Yeah there are a few you could say he "won" but there are far more that he got absolutely reamed in.

    He is terrible at evaluating how much an old veteran has left in the tank. Examples: Jason Smith. Alex Kovalev. Chris Phillips. Filip Kuba. Milan Michalek. Sergei Gonchar. David Legwand. Chris Neil.

    He hands out mind blowing contracts to players like Wiercioch, who made $2 Million and couldn't even make it into the lineup half the time last year.
    Greening...I mean, how ridiculous was that extension?

    Cowen. He offered him an even worse contract than the one he's signed to, which is pretty bad, unless there is some league that I don't know about where a mouth breathing, zero IQ ape is worth $4 Million a year.

    Phillips. The guy has been finished for years.

    The draft myth.

    All you need to do is check out what Murray has done at the draft table for the 4 teams he has been GM of.

    Detroit, 1991-1994

    Notable players drafted:

    Mike Knuble
    Martin Lapointe
    Dan McGillis
    Darren McCarty
    Anders Eriksson
    Jamie Pushor
    Chris Osgood
    Mathieu Dandenault

    Florida Panthers, 1995-2000

    Radek Dvorak
    Filip Kuba
    Peter Worrell
    Oleg Kvasha
    Marcus Nillson
    Kristian Huselius
    Jaroslav Spacek
    Nicklas Hagman
    Alex Auld

    Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 2002-2004

    Joffrey Lupul
    Ryan Getzlaf
    Corey Perry
    Drew Miller
    Shane O'Brien
    Ladislav Smid

    That is a whole lot of mediocrity from the guy that is supposed to be a drafting genius. These are just the ones that played any significant time in the NHL. There are a whole lot more that never played one NHL game.

    What you can see is that Murray drafts the same type of player, a lot. He also has a habit of trying to acquire players he drafted in the past. Like Auld, Lapointe & Kuba. I've bolded the players that either did play for Ottawa, or were heavily rumored to be coming in a trade.

    So Murray takes a team he just went to the Cup Finals with, and dismantles it piece by piece, and now it's mediocre. On its' best day.

    Our Defense is terrible, but Murray "likes" it. He's forever chasing a top 6 forward. We have a ton of the same mediocre players on the team or in the system. We really don't have anything to get excited about. Even the last draft haul was more of the same.

    In all the years this guy has spent in hockey, he's picked 3 players that you could legitimately claim are stars.

    I just don't understand how anybody could look at what he's done to this team, and say "good job". It's truly unbelievable that he is still employed. The guy can do no wrong in the eyes of most of the fans and media.

    It boggles the mind.
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    ADMINuteman Habspatrol's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    I totally agree. I haven't seen any reason for all the love.

  3. #3
    AHL Veteran ColinM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    I don't think Bryan Murray is Lou Lamarelo but he isn't exactly Kevin Lowe either.

    The players you listed for Anaheim sound like a pretty solid draft class considering that the Ducks were good enough to reach the Stanley Cup finals in that era. Not all of those draft picks were going to be automatic gems.

    As far as his record circa 2007 to present goes, I would consider his draft wins to be Karlson (16th overall in 2009) Zibinajad (6th overall in 2011) and Lazar (I think 18th overall in 2013). This isn't stellar but if we use 2009 through 2013 as a baseline isn't bad either considering we probably don't know how the 2014/15 drafts will play out.

    His trades could be called average. I would consider Kuba for Method, Turris for Runblad, Anderson for Elliot, and even Ryan for Silfverberg plus draft picks as wins.

    You're probably right about his track record about signing over the hill players, with the caveat that Neil and Philips were probably Melynk's idea as much as Murray's. I get that Murray could probably have said no but was likely under pressure to offer these guys token roster spots. On the topic of Melynk, Murray is probably being made to look good on the basis that we are supposed to be a budget team, even though we were spending to the cap up until about 2011.

    I don't think he's as bad as you are making him out, but overall he's experienced and has as many wins as he does loses. Sometimes that is all you can expect to find in a General Manager in an era where you are expected to spend to meet a payroll floor. Having said that he's probably going to have his finger prints on this team for as long as he's alive, as completely tactless as that probably sounds.

  4. #4
    Legend JohnnyHolmes's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinM View Post
    I don't think Bryan Murray is Lou Lamarelo but he isn't exactly Kevin Lowe either.

    The players you listed for Anaheim sound like a pretty solid draft class considering that the Ducks were good enough to reach the Stanley Cup finals in that era. Not all of those draft picks were going to be automatic gems.

    As far as his record circa 2007 to present goes, I would consider his draft wins to be Karlson (16th overall in 2009) Zibinajad (6th overall in 2011) and Lazar (I think 18th overall in 2013). This isn't stellar but if we use 2009 through 2013 as a baseline isn't bad either considering we probably don't know how the 2014/15 drafts will play out.

    His trades could be called average. I would consider Kuba for Method, Turris for Runblad, Anderson for Elliot, and even Ryan for Silfverberg plus draft picks as wins.

    You're probably right about his track record about signing over the hill players, with the caveat that Neil and Philips were probably Melynk's idea as much as Murray's. I get that Murray could probably have said no but was likely under pressure to offer these guys token roster spots. On the topic of Melynk, Murray is probably being made to look good on the basis that we are supposed to be a budget team, even though we were spending to the cap up until about 2011.

    I don't think he's as bad as you are making him out, but overall he's experienced and has as many wins as he does loses. Sometimes that is all you can expect to find in a General Manager in an era where you are expected to spend to meet a payroll floor. Having said that he's probably going to have his finger prints on this team for as long as he's alive, as completely tactless as that probably sounds.
    Kuba was traded for Mezsaros.

    It seems that everyone pins the bad calls on Melnyk. Personally I don't see why Melnyk would have any interest in paying Phillips $2.5 Million to suck, and now not even play, but I suppose it is possible.

    A lot of fans also blamed the Kovalev signing on Melnyk, then in the next breath will tell you how Melnyk won't let Murray draft Russians.

    I didn't even touch on the coaching carousel. He's now on his 5th coach, 6 if you include the times he stepped in himself, and Cameron is supposedly the guy that Eugene forced him to hire and keep around.

    Paddock, Hartsburg, Clouston, MacLean and now Cameron. Think about that for a minute. What other GM has ever survived 5 coaches in 7 years?

    Karlsson was an absolute grand slam pick, for which Murray deserves due credit for listening to his scouts. The story I heard was that Anders Forsberg insisted on the Karlsson pick, and that Murray was leaning towards picking Joe Colborne, who if you look at his history, is exactly the kind of guy Murray loves to pick.

    I don't see how anyone can be anything but disappointed with how Zibanejad has been playing. He supposedly came into camp way out of shape, and he is struggling to start the season to say the least. He's looked good at times, and his numbers aren't terrible, but he leaves me wanting more.

    Anyway, I know he's not going anywhere and of course I'm well aware of his health issues, but I am just really frustrated at how he has driven the team into the ground, and now filled it with grinders.

    He inherited a great, young team from Muckler, and in the 10 or so years since he did, built a mediocre mess.
    Last edited by JohnnyHolmes; 10-28-2015 at 04:40 PM.
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    AHL Veteran ColinM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyHolmes View Post
    Kuba was traded for Mezsaros.

    It seems that everyone pins the bad calls on Melnyk. Personally I don't see why Melnyk would have any interest in paying Phillips $2.5 Million to suck, and now not even play, but I suppose it is possible.
    Given the way Melynk leaves us cringing when he gets in front of the camera, he strikes me as the type of owner who would want to put his 2 cents into a trade rather than let the professionals do their job. That is speculation on my part, but not a total stretch.

    Paddock, Hartsburg, Clouston, MacLean and now Cameron. Think about that for a minute. What other GM has ever survived 5 coaches in 7 years?
    I actually hadn't thought of this until you pointed it out. I think this stat is in part because coaching got the blame for the whole Ray Emery/Wade Redden white substance issues. I guess I can't make a good argument for why any GM should get a pass on that though.

    He inherited a great, young team from Muckler, and in the 10 or so years since he did, built a mediocre mess.
    This is true. We've been spinning our wheels for the past 10 years. It seems like plans change as the winds change. I can't help but to think if we suddenly got better at drafting Murray wouldn't need to fill out his roster with the David Legwands, Cory Stillmans, and Alex Kovalev's of the world. But who is available that is currently better at that. We're also force to spend at least until a floor and thus the David Legwands of the world become tempting signings. I really don't think developing talent from the draft is pure luck but I don't have an easy answer for turning it around. How many Karlsson's can we hope to pick each year?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinM View Post
    Given the way Melynk leaves us cringing when he gets in front of the camera, he strikes me as the type of owner who would want to put his 2 cents into a trade rather than let the professionals do their job. That is speculation on my part, but not a total stretch.



    I actually hadn't thought of this until you pointed it out. I think this stat is in part because coaching got the blame for the whole Ray Emery/Wade Redden white substance issues. I guess I can't make a good argument for why any GM should get a pass on that though.



    This is true. We've been spinning our wheels for the past 10 years. It seems like plans change as the winds change. I can't help but to think if we suddenly got better at drafting Murray wouldn't need to fill out his roster with the David Legwands, Cory Stillmans, and Alex Kovalev's of the world. But who is available that is currently better at that. We're also force to spend at least until a floor and thus the David Legwands of the world become tempting signings. I really don't think developing talent from the draft is pure luck but I don't have an easy answer for turning it around. How many Karlsson's can we hope to pick each year?
    This is why I think Murray has been the worst thing that ever happened to this team. When he was the coach, the players had zero discipline and zero accountability. "You live with it" was his go to line when anyone dared to question Spezza's turnovers and lazy play.

    Finally he did ship out the party crew, or at least the party crew that was borderline useless anyway, like Andre Roy or Brian McGrattan.

    How many times was Emery late for practice before anything was done?

    Then I read these heavy handed, hardball comments about Wikstrand and I wonder where this was when Heatley sulked his way out of town, or when anything else happened that was let go.

    The truth is, the team never recovered from losing Jacques, though for sure his time in Ottawa had to end. The team hasn't played the same since, except with glimpses here and there. Definitely nowhere near as consistent or defensively responsible as the teams under Jacques' watch.

    Of course we also have nowhere near the talent level, but that has to be put back on Murray as well.

    I posted the Sens roster from 2007 on another site when everyone blames Muckler for leaving the cupboard bare and other than Alfredsson, the bulk of the team was between 20 and 25 years old.

    That team should have had a few more runs at the cup. But, Murray almost immediately started to dismantle it. He traded mostly the young players away and held on to his vets until they were worthless.

    I know the only way he will leave this team will be health related, and that's a shame, but when he finally does step down as GM, it will be a great day for the fans of this city, though the majority don't seem to have any clue.

    Unless of course the next GM is a complete tool.

    I'm very thankful that his idiot nephew is gone so we won't have to deal with the possibility of him taking over.
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    AHL Veteran ColinM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    I posted the Sens roster from 2007 on another site when everyone blames Muckler for leaving the cupboard bare and other than Alfredsson, the bulk of the team was between 20 and 25 years old.
    I was tempted by respond by listing off of General Managers who had or inherited a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final, had 5 years to put their finger prints on a team and kept their job after years of being average. Outside of Bobby Clark I couldn't think of one. Conversely Boston and Pittsburgh axed their GMs in spite of having won cups and experienced much less in terms of being average.

    To answer your original question, I think part of the love is low expectations from the fans. I can't speak for everyone at hf boardz, but I suspect Ottawa's small market feel plays into this. On a bad day some fans can still be scared into losing their team. At the risk of re-visiting old arguments from fanhome, we were taught we should be happy with our team in light of the small market payroll. For some, we couldn't bring up some the resources they had at their disposal. In the 25 years of the franchise was there ever a time when the fan base was critical of Sens Management?

  8. #8
    Legend JohnnyHolmes's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinM View Post
    I was tempted by respond by listing off of General Managers who had or inherited a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final, had 5 years to put their finger prints on a team and kept their job after years of being average. Outside of Bobby Clark I couldn't think of one. Conversely Boston and Pittsburgh axed their GMs in spite of having won cups and experienced much less in terms of being average.

    To answer your original question, I think part of the love is low expectations from the fans. I can't speak for everyone at hf boardz, but I suspect Ottawa's small market feel plays into this. On a bad day some fans can still be scared into losing their team. At the risk of re-visiting old arguments from fanhome, we were taught we should be happy with our team in light of the small market payroll. For some, we couldn't bring up some the resources they had at their disposal. In the 25 years of the franchise was there ever a time when the fan base was critical of Sens Management?
    I don't remember a whole lot of love for Randy Sexton. In fact, he was quite hated as I recall.

    You may be on to something with the fanbase, but at the same time it's not like people in Ottawa didn't know hockey before 1992. I would wager that most were Habs fans prior to Ottawa getting a team. Maybe in the early 90's there was an uptick of Leafs fans due to the pseudo-success they had in that time period.

    The fact that Firestone, Sexton and Leeder were able to secure a franchise when they had no money is an argument for another thread. When Bryden took over and tried to finance the team through schemes, I think it might have imprinted the poor small market team idea on the fanbase. But when the Euge took over, it was party time, until the Alfredsson fiasco, and even then, it seemed way too easy to sell the budget team narrative.

    I know the Euge has taken some big hits in that time where his companies and personal wealth were hit hard, but still, nobody will ever be able to convince me that the Senators are a money losing enterprise.

    1) the tv money is massive.
    2) the building and the team are separate entities on paper.
    3) we have never lost a player over money, other than Alfredsson, but I suspect that was over ego. Hossa got paid. Redden got paid. Spezza, Heatley, Karlsson, Ryan, etc....all got paid when it was time to put up or shut up. Even now, our payroll is over $65 Million dollars. That's not a poverty team by any stretch.

    I also think the fact that the fans are first generation has a lot to do with it. I was born in the 70's so I understand the cyclical nature of professional sports like the Leafs fans, or Habs fans do.

    It's a harsh business, and it really is all about "what have you done for me lately?"

    This is another area where Bryan Murray fails.

    You can't run a team in nice guy mode and expect to win in a results based business. There is no way that Chris Phillips and Chris Neil should still be on this team. Alfredsson should have been traded years ago. If the Leafs can trade Wendel and Dougie, and the Habs can trade Pat Roy, every Captain they had in the 90's...then Ottawa can trade Alfredsson. I mean if they want to accept reality and compete in the adult world.

    I know that most people love Murray, but for me it's painfully obvious that he's what's wrong with the team, and the sooner he is out of the picture, the better the future becomes.

    If Stevie Y said "Losing follows a guy like Bryan Murray around" who are we to argue?
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    AHL Veteran ColinM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Reading through the thread, I'm not sure whether you think Murray is overrated or horrible. I don't think he is horrible since when I think of horrible GMs I think of Mike Milbury or Kevin Lowe. I'd buy overrated depending on who the audience is.

    You touched on something with the Hab/Roy and Leafs/Wendel + Dougie. The key difference is those franchises have over 200 years of history between them. The modern Senators only have about 25. So while you can make hockey arguments for trading Neil/Alfredsson/Philips I think there's little doubt that keeping those players was a popular decision within a fanbase who is more insecure about a sense of history than Toronto or Montreal's. Sure Stanley Cups are great, but keeping those players meant a form of instant gratification in the sense we were going to have these lifelong players. So when you make a popular decision, as was done in this context, it is easier not to dislike the decision maker who in this case is in part Bryan Murray.

    I agree with you on the Senator's money angle, but remember there's many out there who still believe Melynk "saved" the team and thus could do no wrong, especially when Melynk is talking finances. That also gives Bryan Murray additional goodwill.

    I guess to some, what he has done for them lately is tell the fanbase / probably the owner something they want to hear while hitting and missing along the way. Who tends to call B.S. at that point?

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    Legend JohnnyHolmes's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Sure the fans grow attached to certain players, but hopefully the Alfredsson situation woke some people up to the reality that this is a business, and loyalty doesn't exist, and you don't win by feeling good.

    I'd rather watch a team that does what it takes to win games than a team that keeps a few now useless, or very close to it, players around because it comforts the fans.

    No business succeeds putting feelings ahead of sense.

    People will get over tough decisions. Like now, Alfredsson is back pretending to do work as a stuffed suit, they have their last warm up, feel good retirement ceremony and everyone forgets that he took off to go and play for Detroit when nobody expected him to.

    I suppose I do waver between thinking Murray is mediocre / horrible. I can concede that he's not quite on the Kevin Lowe level, but who is? And, yeah he's made some nice picks and some good trades along the way, I just can't figure out the free pass he gets for his numerous poor choices.

    People make the argument that he is handcuffed by a tight operating budget, then at the same time dismiss the fact that he's wasted $15 Million of it on shitty hockey players.

    He can do no wrong in this town. He should be in politics.
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    AHL Veteran ColinM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyHolmes View Post
    Sure the fans grow attached to certain players, but hopefully the Alfredsson situation woke some people up to the reality that this is a business, and loyalty doesn't exist, and you don't win by feeling good.

    I'd rather watch a team that does what it takes to win games than a team that keeps a few now useless, or very close to it, players around because it comforts the fans.

    No business succeeds putting feelings ahead of sense.

    People will get over tough decisions. Like now, Alfredsson is back pretending to do work as a stuffed suit, they have their last warm up, feel good retirement ceremony and everyone forgets that he took off to go and play for Detroit when nobody expected him to.
    You are right in the sense that the difference between a good GM and a great one is the ability to say no to fan base. I think the best example of that was when the Packers moved on from Brett Favre in 2009. They took a lot of heat for doing so but by the 2011 Super Bowl having moved onto Aaron Rodgers sure looked like a good idea. This Thanksgiving the Packers are going to forget all about the departure drama and his INTs and retire Favres number. I'm sure most of the Packer fan base is now happy to have traded a 4th super bowl for a few more years of Favre.


    I suppose I do waver between thinking Murray is mediocre / horrible. I can concede that he's not quite on the Kevin Lowe level, but who is? And, yeah he's made some nice picks and some good trades along the way, I just can't figure out the free pass he gets for his numerous poor choices.

    People make the argument that he is handcuffed by a tight operating budget, then at the same time dismiss the fact that he's wasted $15 Million of it on shitty hockey players.

    He can do no wrong in this town. He should be in politics.
    On a similar tangent I've often wondered what it was that gave Kevin Lowe a pass in Edmonton all those years. At first it was the small market followed up by the fact that it was the players fault for not wanting to sign there. All it took was about a decade of missing the playoffs before some fans decided to call them out.

    I guess some GMs are just as good at Public Relations as their day job.

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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinM View Post
    You are right in the sense that the difference between a good GM and a great one is the ability to say no to fan base. I think the best example of that was when the Packers moved on from Brett Favre in 2009. They took a lot of heat for doing so but by the 2011 Super Bowl having moved onto Aaron Rodgers sure looked like a good idea. This Thanksgiving the Packers are going to forget all about the departure drama and his INTs and retire Favres number. I'm sure most of the Packer fan base is now happy to have traded a 4th super bowl for a few more years of Favre.



    On a similar tangent I've often wondered what it was that gave Kevin Lowe a pass in Edmonton all those years. At first it was the small market followed up by the fact that it was the players fault for not wanting to sign there. All it took was about a decade of missing the playoffs before some fans decided to call them out.

    I guess some GMs are just as good at Public Relations as their day job.
    That's why putting ex players into important roles can be a dangerous road to travel. The Habs had the same problem in the days of Rejean Houle, Mario Tremblay and friends.

    In Edmonton they had Lowe and MacTavish running the team in a variety of titled roles. One of them rode the coattails of some of the best players to ever play to 6 Stanley Cups, but thinks he was a big part of it. The other was the last guy to play without a helmet. Draw your own conclusions.

    So when I heard fans calling for Alfredsson to be an Assistant GM, I was naturally horrified. Simply appointing a guy with zero experience to such an important position is a terrible idea, and rarely, if ever, works out favorably. I'm a big believer in guys paying their dues, like Luke Richardson for example.

    Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations I can live with. Basically show up in a suit and watch games. I also like that he will go practice and help the younger guys out. Surely he has a lot to share. Just don't let him do anything important, at least not yet.
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    AHL Veteran ColinM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyHolmes View Post
    That's why putting ex players into important roles can be a dangerous road to travel. The Habs had the same problem in the days of Rejean Houle, Mario Tremblay and friends.

    In Edmonton they had Lowe and MacTavish running the team in a variety of titled roles. One of them rode the coattails of some of the best players to ever play to 6 Stanley Cups, but thinks he was a big part of it. The other was the last guy to play without a helmet. Draw your own conclusions.

    So when I heard fans calling for Alfredsson to be an Assistant GM, I was naturally horrified. Simply appointing a guy with zero experience to such an important position is a terrible idea, and rarely, if ever, works out favorably. I'm a big believer in guys paying their dues, like Luke Richardson for example.

    Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations I can live with. Basically show up in a suit and watch games. I also like that he will go practice and help the younger guys out. Surely he has a lot to share. Just don't let him do anything important, at least not yet.
    I think this ties into the Murray Myth a lot. It is possible that amongst GMs with 20 years experience, Bryan Murray is the least successful out of all of them. But if you were searching for a GM tomorrow I'd rather have a GM with 20 years experience and average outcomes than a GM with no experience or worse yet "was a great player".

    I 100% agree with you about Alfredsson not getting a plumb management job right away. He demonstrated that he had talent on the ice but that rarely translates into being a great coach or GM right away. A classic example was Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix. Conversely Patrick Roy was right to buy a junior team, coach it for 6 or 7 years before trying to coach in the NHL. I think Alfredsson is great for Public Relations but if he was offered a management job somewhere else tomorrow we should let him walk.

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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Murray is a gong show.

    Half the D he likes doesn't belong in the league. Still looking for a top 6 forward though.

    This team needs fresh management blood so badly. It's just toxic. If Gretz called the NJD a "mickey mouse organization" I wonder how he feels about Ottawa.

    Owned by an over-refreshed lunatic, managed by a guy that couldn't find his own ass with both hands and a mirror. Coached by coaches that can't coach, and featuring defensemen that can't skate.

    But hey, that Bryan Murray tho...great guy. Heart and soul. Ottawa valley. 30 years. Knows more than all of us.
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Smith-Turris-Stone
    Hoffman-Zibanejad-Ryan
    Dziurzynski-Pageau-Chiasson
    Borowiecki-Lazar-Neil

    Methot-Karlsson
    Wiercioch-Ceci
    Cowen-Wideman

    What the ****....
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyHolmes View Post
    Smith-Turris-Stone
    Hoffman-Zibanejad-Ryan
    Dziurzynski-Pageau-Chiasson
    Borowiecki-Lazar-Neil

    Methot-Karlsson
    Wiercioch-Ceci
    Cowen-Wideman

    What the ****....
    I think the line up would look better with Michalek and MacArthur. I am surprised that they giving up on Shane Prince.

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    Halifax
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    Default Re: The Murray Myth

    I thought it would fun to re-read this thread the day Brian Murray stepped down.

    No doubt it is time for him to go. He had carte Blanche to rebuild the team in 2011, but other than Stone, Karlsson, Pageu, and maybe Turris who really beat expectations in terms of talent development since then.

    So far I am kind of meh about Doirion. On one hand he was murray's apprentice and will likely have his traits, on the other hand he is not Alfredsson. I'm tempted to wait until Doirion makes a coaching decision. If he keeps Cameron or goes internal for another coach then I would say we are in for mediocracy at best. If they can find an experienced coach to come here (Julian if he is fired) then we might have some reason for optimism.

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