Just in case the Anaheim Ducks don’t get past the Winnipeg Jets, let’s go ahead and tuck away this quote from GM Bob Murray for later reference:
“This is our third year with this group making the playoffs where there’s some sort of expectations. I am going to watch very carefully not only the coaching staff, but how certain players play in the playoffs this year. This is the third year and it’s time.
“It’s not just [coach Bruce Boudreau]. The guys that have been here, it’s time for some of them to step to the plate. I’m watching everybody. There’s guys that haven’t had good playoffs. It’s time. They’ve got experience now. They’ve been there. It’s time to step up.”
That quote (warning?) came via the L.A. Times.
Remember that Murray has not been a passive GM, to say the least. In the summer, he acquired former Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler to give the Ducks the kind of second-line center Boudreau said he’s never had as an NHL coach. Murray also made a number of trades prior to the deadline, as he reportedly felt the Ducks’ success earlier in the season was a bit of a mirage. His team responded and finished the schedule playing arguably its best hockey of 2014-15, save for the odd hiccup.
Also consider that if the Ducks can get past Winnipeg, they’ll be pretty heavily favored to beat either Vancouver or Calgary, which would put them in the NHL’s final four for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 2007.
If they don’t get past Winnipeg, or if they do and then lose in the second round, it’ll be extremely interesting to see how Murray reacts.