I got some blowback the other day when I suggested that someone who would desire the firing of Blues coach Andy Murray is an abject idiot. The definition I wanted to utilize, courtesy of Dictionary.com, is this one…2. contemptible; despicable; base-spirited
Just for fun, here’s their definition of idiot: 2. a person of the lowest order in a former classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.
So, you can put those two together. Unless, of course, you’re an abject idiot.
Here’s my reasoning.
Murray took over a franchise that was dead last in the NHL in December of 2006. After finishing out that season with 81 points, leading the Blues to a 27-18-9 record, he lead them to a 79 point total in his first full year. Last season, despite losing his best defenseman in Erik Johnson and arguably his best sniper in Paul Kariya to injury, the Blues managed a 92-point season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Murray is not only coaching a young team, but also teaching a young team. We see what they do on the ice, but Murray and his staff have been outstanding in helping young players…most from other countries…adjust to life as a professional. This is an often-overlooked part of a coach’s job, but he’s a quasi father figure for many players.
I hear people say Murray has never done anything (except win Gold Medals at World Championship events), yet I see what he did with last year’s Blues. I see what he was able to overcome when he lost Ziggy Palffy, Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison in Los Angeles, and I see that he still has the Blues playing hard despite their poor won-loss total.
Speaking of the Blues, they are not an exceptionally cash rich organization. They don’t have the deep pockets of the Red Wings or Maple Leafs. Just two months ago, the Blues picked up the option on Murray’s contract through next season. Would it make much sense to commit to a coach for two seasons, and then two months later decide he ISN’T the guy after fifteen games? Not for this team.
Finally, Murray is a builder. Does he get an indefinite amount of time to win a Stanley Cup? Absolutely not. Bryan Murray spent three years behind Detroit’s bench preparing a young team for Scotty Bowman, who won a cup there in his fourth season. Mike Babcock set the stage for Randy Carlyle in Anaheim. Bob Gainey put six years into getting the Stars ready, but Ken Hitchcock reaped the rewards.
The Blues aren’t ready to win a Stanley Cup yet. Murray is getting them ready to win one. Is he the right guy, two or three years from now, to coach them to a championship? I don’t know. But I DO know this franchise has made significant progress under Murray, and he’s the right guy now to teach them how to win.