Dreger: Murray faced with distasteful task of firing coach

Darren Dreger

4/8/2011 7:42:45 PM

The fact Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk extended Bryan Murray's contract isn't surprising. 

Multiple signs in the second half of the season indicated the 68-year-old GM would be brought back, contrary to the speculation that suggested the end of the season would spark a complete hockey operations overhaul in the nation's capital.

Murray did all the dirty work that's necessary prior to any NHL rebuild.

He traded Mike Fisher, one of the most popular players in Sens history, along with other familiar names such as Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Kelly, Alex Kovalev and goaltender Brian Elliott.

Murray's blade was sharp as he cut his roster to the bone.

In return, draft picks and young assets and a veteran goalie, Craig Anderson, whose audition in Ottawa recently turned into a four-year extension; another clear sign Bryan Murray was Melnyk's man.

However, the same can't be said for head coach Cory Clouston, who seemed to struggle at times this season connecting with his players.

Murray is now faced with one more distasteful task, firing another coach, something he's all too familiar with.

Murray says Clouston's fate will officially be determined end of season, which could be as early as this weekend or early next week.

Because of Murray's hard work, Ottawa owns five picks in the first two rounds of the NHL Entry Draft.

For the Senators, the long road back to their recent status as a Stanley Cup contender begins in June.