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Murray agrees to three-year deal to stay as Senators' GM

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The Canadian Press
4/8/2011 7:02:30 PM
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OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators are giving general manager Bryan Murray a chance to finish what he started.

Team owner Eugene Melnyk announced Friday that Murray has agreed to a three-year contract extension. Murray made several moves ahead of the trade deadline as the club languished in the Eastern Conference basement.

"I didn't want to walk away from a team down in the dumps," Murray said.

There was no immediate word on the future of head coach Cory Clouston, who is in the final year of his contract. Ottawa (32-39-10) is currently 13th in the conference standings with 74 points. The Senators will close out their regular season Saturday afternoon against Boston.

Murray said he met frequently with Melnyk this season to discuss his future and that of the team.

"We had one final meeting today that kind of solidified what my desire was and what his, I believe, is and we were then able to make a deal," he said.

Murray guided the Senators to an appearance in the Stanley Cup final in 2007. Ottawa lost in five games to Anaheim and has not won a playoff series since.

Murray took on GM duties later that spring and named John Paddock head coach. Murray returned to the bench late in the 2007-'08 season and the Senators were swept in the first round by Pittsburgh.

The next season, Craig Hartsburg was hired as head coach and replaced in mid-season by Clouston, who was promoted from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton.

Ottawa missed the playoffs but Clouston guided the team to a 44-32-6 mark in his first full season on the bench. The Senators reached the post-season but again lost to Pittsburgh, this time in six games.

Murray, a native of Shawville, Que., joined the Senators in June 2004. He replaced head coach Jacques Martin, who was let go after Ottawa was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At the time, Melnyk said he believed Murray was the man who could get the franchise to the top. Murray took over a team that enjoyed consistent regular-season success but never lived up to its billing in the playoffs.

While he got close, Murray came up short in his pursuit of bringing a Cup to Ottawa for the first time since the franchise returned to the NHL in 1992.

Murray began his NHL head coaching career in Washington in 1981 and won the Jack Adams Award in 1984 as coach of the year. He also served as coach and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks throughout his career.

Murray led the Regina Pats to the Western Hockey League championship in 1980 and also spent one season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

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