Despite losses, Sens GM thinks he can turn the team around
Ottawa Senators General Manager Bryan Murray says he still believes in his team and with some changes he believes the Sens could be a serious Stanley Cup contender within a year.
"This team I felt all along and I still feel that it's a team that I was sure we were going to be a playoff team, so that's disappointing," Murray told reporters on Monday.
- WATCH extended coverage of Bryan Murray's scrum with reporters
Murray's comments come after Sens owner Eugene Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun he doesn't plan on firing Murray or the team's head coach before the end of the season.
In an interview with CTV Ottawa on Monday, Melnyk said he has a plan to get the Sens back on track. Although the plan doesn't necessarily include a complete rebuild, it could involve trying to trade several veterans.
It's believed Murray will move into the role of senior advisor next season. Coach Cory Clouston's contract is up at the end of the year and likely won't be renewed.
Despite calls for Murray's job by frustrated fans, Murray says he wants to stay in his current role with the team.
"I know as a normal general manger, I hope to retain my job at the end of the year, if I have that conversation. I'm not sure why everybody's in such a hurry to get me out of here, but if that's the way it is, that's the way it is," Murray told reporters on Monday.
The Sens extended their losing streak Friday night with a 7-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. On Thursday, they lost 6-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers.
This year, the Sens' record stands at 17-25-7. They've lost 11 of their last 12 games, with six straight losses on home ice. Goaltender Brian Elliott set a club record last week by losing 10 straight starts.
Murray says he's not going to make excuses for the team's poor performance, and the team shouldn't be playing the blame game either.
"I told the players this morning that when you attack Cory or me, you're really attacking the players because they, in a couple of cases, were very good players elsewhere and came here and haven't performed to the level that we thought they would perform to, a couple of them were injuries."
Players who could find themselves on the market include, Jarrko Ruutu, Filip Kuba, Alex Kovalev, Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips.
The team is far from how they were performing last year at this point in the season. Just one year ago, the Sens were chasing a franchise record for consecutive wins until the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped the Sens' 11-game winning streak in early February.
The team will face off next against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday night.