Disgruntled Murray vows Ducks will have new look next season
ANAHEIM – Bob Murray knew what he wanted to be doing Tuesday night, and it wasn't taking part in a late-morning media scrum while players shuffled about around him.
The plan for the Ducks general manager was to be up in his box high up in Honda Center, watching his team take on the Kings in an inaugural playoff matchup that would have captivated any and maybe every Southern California hockey fan.
But after the Ducks lost to Detroit in Game 7 on Sunday night, Murray plainly broke down how a first-round knockout would not cut it in a year when they were Pacific Division champions and a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
"I didn't expect to be having meetings with players at this moment," Murray said. "We got beat. We got schooled. We got schooled by a very good playoff team. They schooled us from top to bottom.
"That's something we have to deal with going forward. We got beat."
Two days only lessened the deeply somber mood that enveloped the Ducks' dressing room at Honda Center following their 3-2 defeat. Signs pointing the media to the interview room for the playoffs were still present as the Ducks are still in disbelief that their season is over.
"The last couple of days have been tough, obviously thinking after the game and today," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "It's not been fun watching the other teams still playing."
Said goalie Jonas Hiller: "I think there's a lot of emptiness. You're suddenly sitting there thinking if that really happened."
The Ducks have their share of foundation players to take them forward but Murray vowed that they won't look the same for the 2013-14 season when they get back to playing 82 games.
"As I'm standing here today, I'm telling you it won't be the same team next year," Murray said. "We made a lot of good steps. We got a lot of good kids.
"It will not be the same team next year, I promise you that. It's not good enough. Just not good enough."
The Ducks have a core intact with Getzlaf and top-line winger Corey Perry signed for eight more years and defenseman Cam Fowler signed for another five. Hiller is signed for next year while Viktor Fasth is locked in another two.
Winger Bobby Ryan is contracted through 2015 as are defensemen Francois Beauchemin, Luca Sbisa, Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen so the Ducks likely won't be a big player in free agency. Murray, however, wouldn't rule out making deals to reshape his team.
"Lots of things are possible," he said. "Again, it won't be the same team."
The futures of Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu will be a key question in the coming weeks. Selanne and Koivu said they will take some time before deciding whether to continue playing.
Retirement appears to edge closer for Selanne, 42, but the winger said it is too soon to talk about that.
"This is not the time to think about it right now," Selanne said. "I need more time. But (I'm) obviously very disappointed about how things finished up here. It's going to be even worse when you start watching the next round. That's when it's going to hit even more."
Koivu, 38, said he will need at least a few days to "not think about hockey" before starting to assess his plans.
"I've always wanted to kind to get my plans clear the sooner the better," he said. "But we'll probably talk. First of all, I have to think about what I want to do for next year and meet with the team and see what their plan is for next year."
"But right now, I haven't really made up my mind yet. I'm going to have to take some time off."
Murray said that he wants Koivu back and would like to get him re-signed soon. He also said Ben Lovejoy, another potential free agent, is on his immediate target list after the defenseman was a big contributor following his acquisition from Pittsburgh.
The Ducks have been patient with Selanne in recent years, leaving it up to their franchise icon to make the call on returning to the team. Selanne is hoping that their conversations have a similar tone in the coming weeks.
"It has been like that and hopefully that's the case in the future too," he said. "They have been unbelievable with me. It has been fun. There's so much respect for both sides. I think that has been the case and hopefully that's the case in the future."
Murray said Selanne showed during the playoffs that there is still enough of his patented burst in him, even after a 20th NHL season in which the winger had two four-point games in the season's first three weeks but finished with just 12 goals and 12 assists in 48 games.
The general manager did intimate that a decision by Selanne sooner than later would be appreciated, noting that it is the middle of May and the June 30 draft will soon be around the corner.
"I'll wait a while and I'll go hit a few (golf) balls one day and then I'll go play with him, let him beat me and then we'll decide if he's going to play again," Murray said. "So far that's worked. So we'll try it again."
Both Murray and Selanne said the lack of a regular second-line center after Nick Bonino went down because of a torn hamstring injury played a part in the winger's fade down the stretch. Selanne also saw a decrease in ice time and was dropped to the second power-play unit.
"The first half, I thought I had it, the energy that I had before," Selanne said. "The second half was a little more disappointing. Obviously the schedule was tougher also.
"I've always had some duo who I played with. This year, I felt in the second half, I didn't find chemistry that I was looking for with somebody. And obviously that was affecting me, for sure."
Injuries that are undisclosed or unspecified during the season are often revealed and the Ducks had a few players who suffered significant ailments.
Murray said Beauchemin was playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will undergo surgery perhaps this week.
There is no timetable yet on the recovery period. "He promises me he'll be ready by the start of the year and I don't argue with Beauch," Murray said. "If he says he'll be ready, he'll be ready."
Defenseman Toni Lydman confirmed that the Game 3 hit by Detroit's Justin Abdelkader that knocked him out of the series left him with a concussion as well as migraine headaches. Lydman said the headaches are starting to subside but he still needs to pass baseline concussion tests.
Bonino missed six weeks of action after falling while playing soccer with teammates before a March 10 home game against St. Louis. He said platelet-rich plasma therapy and rehabilitation cut the recovery time down from 12 weeks.
The young center acknowledged that the initial reaction from the team wasn't good.
"I think at the same time, it was just such a freak accident," Bonino said. "As awful as you feel, you just want to get back as quick as you can."
Murray also said Fowler and winger Kyle Palmieri have shoulder issues and tests on the two in the coming days will determine if surgery will be needed or just rest and rehab.
Fasth was operating at 80 percent because of a strained lower abdominal muscle while Getzlaf was never at full strength after spraining his right ankle when he got tangled up with Dallas center Jamie Benn on April 3.
Koivu said "the frustration and disappointment is still there" almost 48 hours after losing Game 7 at home.
"You've got to learn from the experience and hopefully when next year comes around, you can turn those things around and you can win a series when you have a chance to put it away," Koivu said. "And that's the frustrating part.
"Because you feel that we had every opportunity to do it and go into the second round and still be playing."
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