Tag: Bob Murray

Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers

Ducks’ Murray on Bourque: ‘will get a decent look at a spot’

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Rene Bourque will get an opportunity show he’s still got NHL-level skills.

Bourque, who was dealt to Anaheim by the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, cleared waivers Nov. 10 and was playing with the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs at the time of the trade.

“Bourque will be coming to Anaheim and will get a decent look at a spot,” said Ducks’ GM Bob Murray. “With some the things that have went on, I wasn’t happy with our forwards. I like his size and skating. We’re not moving well enough.

“[Bourque] has also proven he can score in the playoffs, if you get there. I liked that as well.”

Bourque, 32, had two goals and two assists in four AHL games this season. He went without a goal in 13 games with the Canadiens prior to being placed on waivers.

Originally an undrafted free-agent signing by the Chicago Blackhawks, Bourque has 142 goals and 278 points in 573 regular season games. He also has 11 goals and 15 points in 27 career playoff games.

Bourque has one year remaining, after this season, on his six-year, $20 million contract.

It could be a few days before Bourque suits up for the Ducks, as Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register points out, the Alberta native needs to acquire a work visa.

Poll: What is the biggest concern for the Ducks?

Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry

On paper, the Anaheim Ducks sure do look like a threat in the Western Conference. General manager Bob Murray went out and added a huge piece down the middle in Ryan Kesler, they have promise in goal with budding prospect John Gibson, and veterans such as Dany Heatley will add depth to the forward group.

However, some of those previously mentioned positives could just as easily turn into glaring concerns for the Ducks, who were ousted by the L.A. Kings in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in May. Anaheim hasn’t been past the second round of the playoffs since it won the Cup in 2007.

What happens if Kesler, who has not played a full season since 2010-11, continues to have injury troubles? Since almost single-handedly willing the Vancouver Canucks past the Nashville Predators during the second round of the 2011 playoffs, Kesler has suffered a torn labrum, a shoulder injury, a wrist injury and a broken foot. He has not come near the career-high of 41 goals he set during the aforementioned 2010-11 season either.

In goal, Gibson showed signs this past season that he could be a NHL starter, but lets face it, the sample size is extremely small. Gibson appeared in three regular season games in April, winning all three starts and then made four playoff appearances while going 2-2. With the departure of Jonas Hiller, Murray appears to be content going young in goal; however, it could easily backfire. What happens if the young tandem of Gibson and 24-year-old Frederik Andersen doesn’t pan out? Anaheim is left with 34-year-old veteran Jason Labarbera to be the savior? Labarbera is with his fourth different team in four years.

On the blue line, the Ducks certainly have pieces in the likes of Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin, but where is that stud defenseman? Where is their Duncan Keith or Zdeno Chara? It’s a question even Murray asked recently: “You watch the Kings, for example, and you watch how Drew Doughty has emerged as a superstar. Do we have a defenseman who can be that way? When we won the Stanley Cup, we had Scotty (Niedermayer) and Chris (Pronger). That’s in the back of my mind all the time.”

Behind the bench, Bruce Boudreau is fast earning the distinction of not being able to get it done when it matters most. He took the Washington Capitals to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons as head coach before being fired during the 2011-12 season. In Anaheim, after missing the playoffs in 2012, the Ducks have made them in back-to-back seasons; however, with a roster like theirs, simply making them is not good enough. Does Boudreau have what it takes to get this lineup to the conference final and beyond? It’s something he’s never done at the NHL level.

So, Ducks fans, what’s your biggest concern heading into the 2014-15 season?

Related: Looking to make the leap: John Gibson

Looking to make the leap: John Gibson

John Gibson
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Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson has just three regular-season NHL games under his belt, but with the offseason departure of Jonas Hiller, the 21-year-old is set to make the leap as a potential starter in Orange County.

Gibson was recalled by the Ducks from its AHL affiliate in Norfolk on Apr. 6 due to an upper-body injury to Frederik Anderson.  The following night he made his NHL debut, making 18 saves and shutting out the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena for his first career win.

The Pittsburgh native went on to pick up wins at home against San Jose (April 9) and Colorado (April 13), before making his playoff debut on May 10, making 28 saves in a shutout victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The Ducks’ 2011 second-round pick went 2-2 in four playoff appearances.

Gibson made seven appearances in all during the 2013-14 season, posting a 1.33 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage.

On July 1, Hiller, an unrestricted free agent, signed with the Calgary Flames, paving the way for Gibson and Andersen, who have a combined 31 career regular season games under their belt, to battle it out for the starting job this season.

Speaking with the Ducks’ website last month, Gibson isn’t taking anything for granted heading into camp.

“We’ve had some good conversations, but obviously nothing is ever set in stone,” said Gibson of the vacant starting position. “I just want to come into training camp and play my game and hopefully have a good season.”

The 6-foot-3, 212-pounder says he plans on using his playoff experience against the Kings as motivation heading into what will be his rookie season.

“I think we’ll all use it for motivation for next year,” he said. “I don’t think we have to worry about in a negative way, but I think we’ll use it as a positive. “Obviously (the season) ended a little earlier than I would have liked, but I think I learned a lot. I’ll be ready to go next year, take what I learned, be better and hopefully go further in the playoffs.”

Pushing the two young goaltenders will be veteran Jason Labarbera, who signed a one-year, $750,000 contract on July 1. However, during his state of the franchise address in June, general manager Bob Murray seemed satisfied entering the 2014-15 season with his oldest goaltender, Andersen, being just 24 years of age.

“I like our two young goaltenders a lot, I’ll tell you that. I’m very pleased with the progress they made this year,” he said. “They both feel they can get better, and so do I. But they’re two real good kids. I think they both have a chance to be NHL No. 1 goalies, yes.”

With Andersen ($1.15 million) and Gibson ($722,000) making under $2 million combined this season, it gives Murray, who according to CapGeek has just over $11 million to play with, the freedom to add to an already veteran-laden lineup.

What has to be exciting for Ducks’ fans is, if Gibson manages to earn the starting role out of camp and maintain his albeit-brief NHL success, Anaheim still has one more year to give the goaltender a thorough look in 2015-16 at a bargain price of $721,667.

Related: Under Pressure: Bruce Boudreau

Selanne to miss game against Predators to prep for Sochi

Teemu Selanne

Teemu Selanne won’t be suiting up in the Anaheim Ducks’ final game before the Olympic break.

Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports Selanne did not make the trip with the team to Nashville and stayed home to rest up and leave for Sochi on Sunday. The Ducks face the Predators on Saturday night while Selanne will represent Finland at the Olympics.

Before you freak out thinking Selanne did this on his own, he didn’t. Stephens says Ducks GM Bob Murray and coach Bruce Boudreau all discussed it with Selanne and decided it was best for him to do things this way.

This season, Selanne, 43, has been taking some nights off, generally the second game of back-to-back games on the road. The Ducks last played on Wednesday against Chicago.

Selanne to play or retire? We’ll know by next week

Teemu Selanne

Teemu Selanne’s decision to play one more season or retire will be known very soon according to the man himself.

The 43-year-old future Hall of Famer tells Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register (subscription required), “By next week, I know what I’m going to do.”

The catch for him returning? He’s going to want top minutes and a chance to show their crew of young wingers he’s still got it. From Stephens:

“My point is, if they’re better than I am, I am expecting and accepting a smaller role,” Selanne said. “But if I’m better, I need to play more. I need to play top minutes. That’s what I’m looking for.

“That’s fair for everybody. To be honest, I’ve been playing a big role. I don’t know if I’m ready to play 10-12 minutes a game. And that’s what I want to make sure. If I play well, I get what I deserve.

“Sometimes it’s not like that. So I want to make sure I’m treated the way I deserve.”

Ducks GM Bob Murray has essentially told Selanne if he wants to play, he’s ready to sign him. The issue here, however, is coach Bruce Boudreau has a host of young wingers ready to play more minutes.

Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem, and newcomer Jakob Silfverberg are all potential top-six forwards. If it comes down to a training camp battle to see who’s got it, there’s a good possibility Selanne could wind up out in the cold for more ice time.

Selanne has held strong saying he’s either playing for Anaheim or he’ll retire, but you have to wonder if it comes down to a coach’s choice that he won’t give him that ice time if he’ll change his mind. Surely there are teams that would be interested even if he’s a step slower.