Bob Murray on Tuesday clarified comments he made last week when the Anaheim Ducks general manager was critical of coach Dallas Eakins and some of their younger players.
“I was trying to get across the point that I kind of left Dallas high and dry,” Murray said on Sportsnet’s “Hockey Central.” “Because of what had happened the year before, when I let (coach) Randy [Carlyle] go, went down behind the bench and then I brought Dallas in, and with his experience [with the] Edmonton [Oilers], I felt I had to get away and distance myself for his own good. And I left him high and dry. I should’ve been around him more, I should’ve helped him more.”
The Ducks hired Eakins on June 17, 2019, after he spent four seasons as coach of their American Hockey League affiliate in San Diego. He was Oilers coach for two seasons from 2013-15, going 36-63-14 in 113 games.
The Ducks (29-33-9, .472 points percentage) will fail to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season after they were 13th in the Western Conference when the NHL paused its season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
After a 9-6-0 start, Anaheim won eight of its next 31 games (8-18-5) before entering the pause 5-3-2 in its final 10. The Ducks power play was 30th in the NHL (14.7 percent), and their penalty kill was 26th (77.0 percent).
On June 3, Murray said Eakins was “very organized, very well-prepared,” but “he took the foot off the gas a bit with them.”
“We have a lot of young players there, and when we got injured, we even had more young players — we had too many young players in the lineup. I should’ve helped more,” Murray said Tuesday. “And it put a big burden on Dallas because of, as we recall, what he went through when he was in Edmonton. That’s what I was trying to say, and it didn’t come out right.
“I’m happy with where Dallas has taken the team. I really believe it started good last year, there was a little problem in the middle, and then it was getting righted near the end. We made a few trades, and it was going in the right direction. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to finish the year because I think we would’ve finished pretty well.”