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Hockey Hot Stove With Murray
By Michael Walters
Today the Anaheim Ducks held their “Hockey Hot Stove” with General Manager Bob Murray. He was joined by Steve Carroll and answered numerous fans questions and commented on a variety of topics.
Please note the topics below are listed in the order as discussed.
On last night’s win:
“It was one of those nights where the puck went in the net.” He felt the team played well, but they were still skating slowly at some moments in the game.
On increasing scoring:
Murray said he is looking to bring in new players. He said, “You don’t just find a 50-goal scorer under the Christmas tree.”
On improving the power play:
He wants more movement by the players and the puck shouldn’t be with one player too long. He said they need to avoid standing in place. They aren’t like “actors in a play where X marks the spot.” He wants them to not stay in one spot for too long.
He plans to look at the college free agent market as well as the European market. He is looking to add a third line winger and right-hand shooting defenseman with size. Murray also stressed he wants to avoid doing long term contracts.
Future role of young players:
If they deserve to play, then Murray has no problem keeping them in Anaheim. Conversely, if they aren’t ready, then he won’t rush them and rather keep them in San Diego to develop. He mentioned that he sometimes wondered if he rushed Cam Fowler too soon.
Will re-tooling include buyouts and trades?
“No one is untouchable”, Murray said. He plans to talk to the owners during the offseason and he is definitely looking into future trades. The owners aren’t big on buy-outs.
How do you evaluate entry draft players being NHL ready?
Everyone is different he said and it depends also what round the player was drafted at. He reiterated the goal should be not to rush the development of a young player.
Priority for the draft?
In the early rounds, Murray said he looks for the best players. After the first two rounds, he then looks at the needs of the team. He said, “obviously we can use some scoring and speed.” He emphasized building a team around goaltending, defense, and at the center position.
Is there a difference in where prospects play before the NHL?
One thing Murray noticed is college players have a difficult time adjusting to the full schedule of the NHL. He said they usually hit a wall around the 40 game mark.
What qualities do you want in the new head coach?
He said jokingly that he “can’t raise his voice” and he has to be “sensitive” given the younger generation of our society. He mentioned that communication is key for the new coach, especially with younger players. Just yelling at players isn’t always going to work. He mentioned that using video today is important because the younger generation is always using phones, computers, etc. Being able to show them visually what they are doing right or wrong is key to their growth. He still likes to tell the team to “go play the bloody game”, but admits it’s a different generation entering the league. Murray confirmed he already has a list of candidates and that he is looking within the organization as well as outside of it.
What’s the long term vision?
Murray wants to get the team back to where they were about four years ago. He really thought the Ducks could have beat the Blackhawks and got to the Stanley Cup Final. He admits this season has been a low point but wants to get back to being a contender.
What didn’t work this season?
The team didn’t play with enough speed Murray said. Players need to get open and the puck movement has to increase.
What do you think of the NHL game today?
Murray isn’t a big fan of the schedule. He doesn’t like how some teams have several days off before games and how teams sometimes play three games in four nights. He also isn’t a fan of the mandatory break each team gets.
How did the veterans face the adversity this season?
Murray felt the senior players could have done a better job. No one should accept losing and mentioned some players had that mindset. He emphasized how the veteran players have to be able to mix with the younger players in the locker room.
Thoughts on Comtois development:
The “sooner he gets here(Anaheim) the better”, Murray said about the future of Max. He didn’t like the fact he had to send him back to junior and wants to change that process if possible. He has been discussing it with the NHL.
How do you decide if a prospect should play in the NHL or minors?
It all comes down to “meaningful minutes” Murray stressed. If the player is getting a good amount of ice time, then they should stay in the NHL. If they can’t manage over 10 minutes of ice time, then they should play in the minors where they develop more.
Thoughts on the Anaheim defensive core?
Having good partners is key he said. He likes the pairing of Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm. He would like to add a player with size that can quarterback the power play(i. e. Shea Weber). Murray wants more size on his blue line in general.
On Max Jones 1st goal:
Murray called Max an “intense young man” and that he was down on himself for not scoring. He told him to “relax” and glad he finally broke through.
Strategy moving forward from this season?
Murray wants players to be able to both sides at wing and defense. He talked about moving Cam Fowler to the right side and how his offense picked up. He said a key is going to be adding players that can adapt and play different sides of the ice.
How has Ryan Miller influenced this team?
Murray called him a “true professional”. He always puts in the work at practice and helps others out when he can.
What’s the goal for the rest of the season?
Believing in the system and in each other is key for Murray. He wants the team to have success down the stretch of this season so it can carry over to next season.
How many people are involved in the draft team?
There are four main guys that Murray utilizes. They have all been going to Europe this season and they plan to go in April after this season is over.
How has it been behind the bench?
It’s been enjoyable to be closer to the players and it brought “reality” to the situation Murray said. He also changed his opinion about certain players and how to utilize them.
In closing, he added that he doesn’t want to do a 5-6 year rebuild. He wants to do some tweaks to the team and hopefully get them where they need to be for next season. He does take responsibility for this season and is looking to get things back on track immediately after the final game of the season.
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March 9th, 2019