Muckler replaced by Murray as Senators GM

6/19/2007 - NHL Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA -- The Senators' first trip to the Stanley Cup finals was apparently not enough to save John Muckler's job.

Ottawa fired Muckler and promoted coach Bryan Murray to the position Monday as part of a reorganization of the club's front office.

Murray told reporters at a news conference that he will not take on both roles of coach and GM, and said he will conduct interviews for a new coach over the next few weeks.

"The last three years as head coach has shown me we have a very strong foundation of players to build upon," Murray said at Monday's news conference. "The depth and experience of this team presents us with an enormous opportunity to a create a long-term plan that will allow us to bring forward a competitive team for many years to come."

The Senators went 48-25-9 in the regular season and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to Anaheim in five games.

Muckler had one year remaining on his contract and said earlier he had every intention of fulfilling it. "I'm having too much fun," he told reporters at the time.

The Senators said the 73-year-old Muckler will pursue other opportunities outside the organization.

"I leave Ottawa with a great sense of satisfaction at what I've helped to accomplish here," Muckler said in a statement. "It is a first-class organization, and I'll very much miss being part of it."

While traveling on club business Friday, team president Roy Mlakar spoke to Muckler about making changes and apparently broached the subject of Muckler staying with the team in some capacity. After subsequent talks with team owner Eugene Melnyk and team legal counsel, the final decision for Muckler to step down was made late Sunday afternoon.

Meanwile, Murray will run the Senators' NHL draft efforts this weekend in Columbus, Ohio.

"Bryan shares our focus and drive on building a championship team in Ottawa," Melnyk said in a statement. "His combined 25 years of NHL experience as a coach and general manager was something we simply could not overlook as we build for the future."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.