Gino Reda: Bob Murray was the third-longest tenured GM before his fall from grace. Now that he’s out, what’s the plan to replace him?
Darren Dreger: For the foreseeable future, it’s expected that Jeff Solomon, who was named interim general manager, will share the management duties with Dave Nonis, and primarily that’s because Solomon is based out of California so logistically it makes more sense to name him the interim general manager. They’re going to try and keep this team on point, they do not want to waste a good start by the Anaheim Ducks. That’s been a challenge for head coach Dallas Eakins, keeping this team focused amid all the upheaval, making sure this isn’t a distraction. But for the foreseeable future, Nonis and Solomon will manage the Ducks.
Pierre LeBrun: The Ducks’ owners, Henry and Susan Samueli, as part of their statement on Wednesday referring to Bob Murray, also talked about the GM search and referred to it as something that would be methodical and extensive in terms of their search and may be something that goes into the off-season. I think there’s a couple reasons for that. One, some of the candidates that they are going to identify may not be available to talk to during the season, that they might have to wait until after the season to approach rival front offices to talk to certain people. But, I also think they want to take their time for another reason – this is their first search to make a GM hire outside the organization potentially since they hired Brian Burke in 2005. Because Bob Murray was promoted from within, so they want to take their time and I think they want to talk to a lot of people over the next several months.
Reda: After months of waiting, the Jack Eichel trade finally happened about a week ago, a couple days ago he was greeted [with] a band of showgirls. But what’s the plan for the controversial surgery that played such a huge role in this move?
Chris Johnston: He’ll get that surgery on Friday, and what’s interesting is after taking all of those many months for a team to get on board with the artificial disc replacement surgery, Jack Eichel will only be operated on for about 45 minutes to an hour on Friday and he’ll actually be an outpatient after getting the surgical procedure done. Which means he’ll walk off the operating table and out of the hospital the same day. The plan from there is to have him work with Mark Lindsay for about three weeks post-surgery before eventually getting with the Golden Knights strength team and then he hopes to skate sometime around Christmas and hopes to be back three-to-four months from now.
Reda: This is just about the time of the season teams start to ask about goaltending. Could Tuukka Rask be an option for teams?
Johnston: He could be. But I think there is one team in his mind and his heart and that’s the Boston Bruins. He’s been working out at their practice facility, doesn’t have a contract. Rask had surgery on a torn labrum on his hip during the off-season. I reached out to his agent who said the goal for him is to play and to win. Rask, previous to this, had been a little non-committal about his playing future, but the focus now is getting healthy, working on that hip and maybe returning as soon as January. He’s even left the door open to Team Finland for the Beijing Olympics.
Reda: Given all the NHL is going through right now, Pierre, you’re hearing the league is reaching out and seeking guidance as it tries to move forward.
LeBrun: You may remember when I interviewed Sheldon Kennedy a couple of weeks ago, that people were pretty surprised to hear from him that in the 20 years or so that him and his respect crew that have been doing work in the field of prevention and education on harassment, abuse, etc. That he had never once heard from the National Hockey League and especially in the wake on the Chicago Blackhawks scandal, you kind of of wonder why not. Well, the league had reached out. I traded text messages with Sheldon Kennedy on Thursday and he said that he has spoken to Kim Davis, the senior executive vice president, this week. A quote from Kennedy, “I felt a real clear understanding of the human issue at the forefront from Kim and a continued urgency and commitment for concrete action.” So, a positive first conversation and more to come between Sheldon Kennedy and the NHL.
Reda: Because of the pandemic we’ve seen a number of national and international events cancelled over the last couple of years. But is Hockey Canada planning on getting involved overseas?
Dreger: No question about that. Hockey Canada, like all of the federations, are watching what’s going on in Ottawa. There’s still concern over COVID-19, it very much threatens the Olympics and some of these international events. But Canada plans on sending a team to the Channel One Cup in Russia; likewise to the Spengler Cup in Switzerland. The Channel One Cup, the Canadian team primarily using KHL players, and at the Spengler Cup, Canada will likely use mostly Swiss or European players.