Bob Murray’s contract as general manager of the Ducks runs through the 2011-12 season, and he wanted Randy Carlyle and David McNab to be able to say the same. Nothing more, nothing less.
“My experience has taught me that nobody goes past me,” Murray said on a conference call Tuesday afternoon to announce the contract extensions for Carlyle and McNab. “That goes back to something from a previous job where I was gone and some people were left in some very uncomfortable positions when I was gone. Good and bad. That won’t happen again. I felt bad for some people after I was gone.”
“I’m up at the end of next year, and nobody’s going past mine.”
It’s not hard to guess where the “uncomfortable positions” were based - Murray was abruptly fired as the Chicago Blackhawks’ GM in November 1999. (He then worked as Anaheim’s scouting consultant, and a Professional Scout for the Vancouver Canucks, before Brian Burke brought him back to Anaheim in 2005.)
That was the reason the Ducks’ GM offered for the duration of the extensions for Carlyle and McNab, noting it had nothing to do with a Collective Bargaining Agreement that is set to expire in 2012. In addition, there was the “body of work” both Carlyle and McNab have compiled in Anaheim.
With Carlyle, “I don’t look at it as this season. I look at it as what he’s done over the five, six years we’ve been together here,” Murray said. “We missed the payoffs last year, I understand that. We would have made the playoffs if we were in the East, by the way. I think he’s done a helluva job. If he was out on the market, he wouldn’t be on the market for very long.”
McNab “never gets recognized around here. I think that’s wrong,” Murray said.
“David keeps me – especially today with dollars and my budget and my minor-league budget – he keeps me on the straight and narrow all the time. It’s invaluable to me. Plus he goes out and scouts. … He’s capable of doing lots of things. With the revenue we generate here, that’s how we have to operate.”
Murray notably made several references to the team budget, especially as it compares to the rest of the league. Team owner Henry Samueli has gone on record as saying the Ducks are near the middle of the NHL in terms of revenue generated, but that the team is still losing in the double-digits of millions of dollars, and player payroll will remain in the $54-55 million range.
Within those constraints, Murray said he’s been impressed by what Carlyle has done.
“I’ll put Randy’s record against anybody,” Murray said. “Mike Babcock has a helluva record so far. People start measuring people’s success by the number of dollars an organization spends. The dollars teams are spending, the (salary) cap is out the window. With teams cheating the way they cheat nowadays, there’s huge variables between us and the dollars other teams are spending.
“(Carlyle) deserves it. There are lots of things go into play.”
Some other topics Murray addressed:
The GM is not currently pursuing contract extensions with any NHL players, but he is working on contracts for “a couple” junior players, and some scouts.
On the season so far: “As a team I think I’m fairly happy. Considering our schedule, considering the injuries, we’re in a decent place. … Obviously when you’re in the West, team’s schedules go up and down in difficulty in games played. We’re way ahead of everybody else in games played. That takes a toll on your hockey team.”