Bryan Murray steps down as Sens GM; Dorion to take over
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, April 10, 2016 11:38AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 10, 2016 2:59PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Bryan Murray would have liked his time as general manager of the Ottawa Senators to have a better ending, but at least he is confident that he's leaving the position in good hands.
Less than 24 hours after the Senators' season ended, Murray announced Sunday he would be stepping down as GM and taking on a senior advisory role.
Pierre Dorion will take over as the eighth general manager in franchise history. Dorion, an Ottawa native, had spent the past three seasons as assistant general manager and has been with the organization since 2007.
Murray was first hired as head coach in June 2004 and was promoted to GM in June 2007 following the Senators only Stanley Cup final appearance. In Nov. 2014 Murray announced he had Stage 4 colon cancer, but would remain in his role while he battled the disease.
He said his health was just one of many factors involved in the decision.
"I guess I've been struggling with it for the last month in particular, but probably Wednesday of this past week (the decision came)," Murray said. "I thought about it, I met with (owner Eugene Melnyk). We had a long discussion about where we're going, what we're doing and I just felt at the time and I suggested ahead of time in all likelihood it would be the right time.
"I think having Pierre in position to do to the job and take it over and be a strong general manager was important, obviously. There really wasn't any other consideration. Knowing that and how I feel and how much time I've taken away from my family. Tolerant is an underused word, but putting up with me wanting to be the young man still in hockey, I just felt that after much discussion it was time to pull the plug."
Murray admitted leaving following a losing season was probably the hardest part of his decision.
"You always want to try and leave on the up and that wasn't to be this year, but I really feel good about the talent level that is on the ice in the future," he said. "I was adamant that when I stepped aside to let someone else take over, that we all feel good about the future here. I think it is a very bright future. I think it's a very bright future. I think we will be competitive for years to come."
The Senators went through five head coaches under Murray. They missed the playoffs four out of nine years and only advanced past the first round once.
Dorion has a wealth of hockey experience. His career started in 1992-93 working as a junior scout in the Central Junior Hockey League and eventually led to 13 seasons in scouting (11 with the Montreal Canadiens followed by two with the New York Rangers) before being hired by the Senators.
When Ottawa entered the league Dorion recalled telling his father, the late Pierre Dorion Sr., who was also a scout for many years, that one day he would be the team's general manager.
"The number one priority is definitely to get back to our winning ways," Dorion said. "I think we have to be more consistent as a team.
"At times we look like we can beat any team in the league. There are nights we look like we have no chance to win. Consistency is definitely something we're going to look at. It hasn't been a long while that I've known I'm going to have this job. A plan will be put in place, a plan will be executed."
Dorion called Murray the biggest influence in his professional and personal life and says he will continue to rely on his experience and expertise.
Many anticipate a coaching change to take place following the Senators 38-35-9 season, but it appears Dorion will take time before making any significant changes. In addition to the coaches, Dorion said "anyone who falls under the umbrella of hockey in this organization will be evaluated."
"There's an evaluation process," added Dorion. "Sometimes we're quick to judge. There will be changes but I think we have to do the proper changes and we have to take our time doing it and make sure that every change we make is the right one."
Player exit interviews will be held Monday.