Former Capitals Coach Bryan Murray Dies at 74

Gary Bettman releases statement on passing of Bryan Murray

Gary Bettman releases statement on passing of Bryan Murray

Murray, who passed away Saturday at the age of 74 after a lengthy battle with incurable colon cancer, nearly immediately turned the Capitals into a constant presence in the Stanley Cup playoffs, leading the team to its first seven postseason appearances. It's worth mentioning that Murray's fourth season as Sens Head Coach was when he replaced John Paddock as the clubs coach in the 2007-08 National Hockey League season.

"The Bears are saddened to hear of the passing of former head coach Bryan Murray", the team said in a statement. The Ottawa Senators confirmed the passing of their former coach and general manager this afternoon.

"I talked to hockey people all over the country, then I met [Murray] yesterday for the first time", the Capitals' owner told The Washington Post's Bob Fachet upon hiring Murray, then 38, in November 1981. Although the Senators had the superstar power of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza on their roster that year with all three finishing with more than 90 points, Murray's coaching abilities still played a huge factor on their spectacular season. Murray made the playoffs in 12 of his 13 full seasons as head coach. A year later, he and the Senators clinched a berth to the Stanley Cup Final before losing in five games to the Ducks.

"He is a top 10 coach, a top 10 GM and he could have been a top 10 talent evaluator if that's the role he had have wanted to take, except that he loved coaching so much", Tim Murray, who was sacked by the Sabres in April, said.

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"He sort of tried to take the pressure off the team by doing stuff and yelling and screaming at the referees and having fun with them to alleviate some of the pressure that we had", Laughlin said. Hall of Famer Larry Robinson said Murray's death made for a "sad day for hockey". The Senators instead this time would end up beating the Buffalo Sabres in five games to secure their spot in the Cup Final. "Thank you for everything Bryan".

"We have high profiles", Murray said at a 2015 dinner held in his honor. "I think he's probably saved lots of lives because of what he's done in the past couple of years". In his second year as Sens coach in 2005-06, the Senators finished the season with a 52-21-9 record. "While his warmth and dry sense of humor were always evident, they were accompanied by the fiery competitiveness and determination that were his trademarks".

Even opponents and rivals respected Murray, who said in 2014 he felt bad that he couldn't respond to colleagues' messages about his cancer diagnosis fast enough. Bryan's contributions to the game of hockey were outstanding, from his impact in Washington to his more recent service as a senior hockey advisor with the Ottawa Senators.

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