Ducks front-office executive Bob Murray, not relishing the spotlight, survived the moment and his speech after being named the NHL’s general manager of the year.
Soon after, he received kudos from a crosstown rival and peer, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, who was also nominated for the award, finishing third behind Murray and Montreal’s Marc Bergevin. Lombardi’s Kings beat Murray’s Ducks in the second round of the playoffs, along the way to winning the Stanley Cup.
“Dean gave me a pat on the back and said, ‘Congratulations.’ There’s a mutual respect there,” Murray said on a conference call with reporters. “As I said, I’d trade this one for that one if he wants to make a deal.”
Those aren’t just empty platitudes. Lombardi has been just as complimentary, impressed with what Murray has been able to do in Anaheim and the two plan to get together after the business of hockey slows down after the draft and free agency.
Before that, they were at the NHL’s Awards at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Tuesday night. The general manager award is voted on by the league’s 30 GMs, a small panel of NHL executives and media members. Murray was a finalist for the honor in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
“When you’re voted by your peer group, that makes anything all the more special,” Murray said. “The people you work with and work against — when they vote for this — it’s very special. It’ll be an honor my whole life because they voted for that.
“Second of all, it means my off-the-ice team is doing a good job. That’s something we’ve tried to create … we’re getting better and better at it.”
Murray, the Ducks’ GM since 2008, put together back-to-back Pacific Division-winning teams. This past season, the Ducks established organizational records with wins (54) and points (116) and led the league in goals (263) for the first time in franchise history.
There were several other local finalists for the league’s major awards. Kings center Anze Kopitar finished second in voting for the Frank J. Selke Award, which is given to the league’s best defensive forward. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins won the award for the second time in three years. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, who won in 2013, finished third in the voting.
Kings captain Dustin Brown won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in “recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community.”
The Kings were honored for their Stanley Cup win. Goalie Jonathan Quick, who was not on hand because of wrist surgery, won the William M. Jennings Trophy given to the goaltender of the club allowing the fewest goals.
The Colorado Avalanche franchise was a big focus at the awards: Nathan MacKinnon won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), Patrick Roy took the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) and Ryan O'Reilly, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct). MacKinnon, 18, is the youngest player to win the Calder.
Other winners included Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who took his second Hart Trophy (most valuable player), Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, the Vezina Trophy, and Chicago’s Duncan Keith, the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman.
The Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf finished second in Hart voting to Crosby, who also took home the Art Ross Trophy (league scoring champion) and the Ted Lindsay Award (players’ choice for league’s top player).
The Ducks’ Corey Perry was voted first team NHL All-Star and Getzlaf second team All-Star. Anaheim rookies, goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenseman Hampus Lindholm, were named to the league’s all-rookie team.
Additionally, the Kings finalized the new contract of defenseman Matt Greene, who signed a four-year agreement at an average of about $2.5 million per year. The next order of business is signing winger Marian Gaborik. Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said Tuesday the sides are “closing the gap.” If Gaborik comes back, it would be nearly impossible to fit defenseman Willie Mitchell into the team's financial structure.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun