Question ,, Reading the history of Wings/Flyers made me wonder how you felt about firing of Murray after 97 finals? Right move or wrong move?
I know he and Lindros had issues along with some other players but his success with Flyers was impressive at time with a Conf Finals loss + a SCF loss in 3 yrs
The dismissal was secondary to the replacement: Wayne Cashman. It was almost immediately a wrong choice based on what was needed at the time; he was moved to an assistant's role later in the season when replaced by Roger Neilson.
Murray was one reason why the team resurfaced after five years of non-playoffs. The return of Clarke in an executive role did wonders. The blockbuster trade with Montreal as the prime example. Lindros was at his most comfortable especially with LeClair. Hextall in that season and more so 1995-96 (overlooked as one of his three best seasons, IMO) stabilized the goaltending position. There was no turning back after the "choking" comment, however. The rumblings about Murray's status began after the 1996 Playoffs and continued into the early part of the 1996-97 season. It wasn't a hasty decision based on the outcome of the Finals. A win there, of course, would have changed history.
Yeah, the "choking" comment pretty much sealed his fate. It's just something you don't say to a team. I understood why he tried to do it, but was probably the most horrific backfire in the NHL.
Didn't he privately appologise to the players afterwards?
He had a fractured relationship with Lindros and that finalized the deal.
The reference that sometimes is used, even today in contemporary situations, "As Eric Desjardins would say 'aye, aye, aye,...'" eminates from that point in time because that was his reaction to the comment. As you say, it is among the most inappropriate descriptions for a coach to use in a public forum. IIRC, Trent Klatt was one player who supported Murray. He did meet with some of the vets on the team but I don't recall a formal apology.