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ANAHEIM, Calif. – Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray didn’t see the right type of attitude from his players in their four-straight Game 7 losses at home.
Instead of coming out to start the games and showing a level of aggression, they came out of the locker room and didn’t quite have the same attacking nature as their opponent.
On Wednesday, the Ducks lost another Game 7 – this one to the underdog Nashville Predators by the score of 2-1. It was also the fourth straight time they had allowed the first goal in a Game 7.
“It was almost the mentality was that they weren’t going out to win, they were going out not to lose. And you can’t play hockey that way,” Murray said. “You cannot. That’s just the group and it was very disturbing to watch.”
Murray addressed the decision to fire Boudreau, who was behind the bench from all Game 7 losses said he didn’t believe he could go into another season, and perhaps another postseason, with the same personality at head coach.
“Bottom line for myself and my bosses, I did not feel going forward and making the playoffs again it would be a good situation,” Murray said. “I think the last four years and the way they ended have all been very similar.”
In his career, Boudreau went 1-7 in Game 7s between stints with the Ducks and the Washington Capitals. In Anaheim, he won the Pacific Division in his four full years. He went 208-104-40 with the Ducks after the organization hired him following Randy Carlyle’s dismissal.
Added Murray about Boudreau and his Game 7 problems, "I think as it goes on it gets tougher and tougher on him and it gets, especially with me and the same group whatever of that core group that’s here – you cannot change a whole hockey team. It’s going to be most of the same people, and that becomes difficult. My experiences when you change and go from one to the other you’re better the next time, and I’m sure he’ll be better the next time."
In the past, Boudreau had taken the brunt of the blame for Game 7 failures, but this year there were questions about whether it was more about the team’s core. Corey Perry went without a goal last series and captain Ryan Getzlaf took a bad tripping penalty near the end of the game that killed Ducks momentum as they tried to claw back into it.
Murray said he believed in the core, but also noted that he needed to be harder on them as well.
“Well, there is definitely concerns in that area, and I think, the core has to be held responsible,” Murray said. “They have to be ready. Maybe I haven’t been hard enough on them the last few years. They’re going to hear some different words this time.”
Still he said the core was an important element of the team’s success this year. Anaheim started the season 1-7-2 then rebounded to have the best second half of any team in the NHL on their way to winning the Pacific Division.
“We’ve got some very good core players or they wouldn’t have turned it around when all was lost for a while there,” Murrsay said. “You don’t do what that group did unless you have some talent.”
He also took some of the blame, himself.
"It’s on all of us. I’m not pointing a gun," Murray said. "There are lots of people involved in this not going well. We’re all held accountable."
Boudreau was informed Friday morning of the decision, and when asked how the ultra-emotional coach took it, Murray said, “Bruce is a hockey guy … he knew. He’s a hockey guy.”
As for Anaheim’s next coach, Murray didn’t tip his hand, though he spoke glowingly about Tampa Bay Lightning Jon Cooper maybe as a template for his next bench boss.
“There’s a whole bunch of different types of coaches. We have to meet, my hockey people and I and decide what we need going forward,” Murray said. “This was about, I couldn’t see this going forward this way.”
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