Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mixed emotions by players following Murray's ouster

Janssen among those that endorse move

ST. LOUIS -- Reaction in the Blues' locker room was pretty mixed, as is the case any time a team loses its head coach.

The Blues went through their first -- and abbreviated -- practice Saturday after the organization announced the firing of head coach Andy Murray and replaced him with Peoria's Davis Payne.
Some took blame for Murray's ouster, some felt like the move was inevitable. Some even went as far as to say the move was necessary.

Whatever the feelings for Murray are, the Blues have now been given a new direction for the remainder of the season and the time to perform is now.

"It's tough to swallow," defenseman Barret Jackman said. "We're the problem in this room. I think management decided to make a change to wake up the players. It's up to us now ... Davis comes in here with a good repoire with a lot of guys in training camp and he's had good success in Peoria. Right now, it's not about X's and O's, it's about the commitment on the ice and getting guys ready to play and playing a full 60 minutes."

Murray's persistent hard-core style apparently wore thin with some players. But others felt like the system implemented was sufficient enough to play by.

"The game plan wasn't the problem, it was executing what was out there," captain Eric Brewer said. "That was the problem and finding different ways to lose games. That's the bottom line.

"Andy's program was good. The things Andy put forth were more than fair to ask of us. We didn't play to the level that he expected nor to ourselves especially as of late. We left a lot of games in the balance and it cost him his job."

It was obvious some people waited for the ball to drop, while others didn't know what to think.

"I don't know. It's tough to say," defenseman Erik Johnson said. "All we do is go out and try to play hard every night and win hockey games. It's not really the coach's fault for how we play. We have to get ourselves ready. Us not playing well kind of led to this. We have to start playing better -- bottom line."

Cam Janssen tried to speak for those that thought change needed to be made.

"I kind of figured something was going to happen and something needed to happen," Janssen said. "We need to turn this thing around ... it happens in sports, this kind of thing. It was kind of his time. He had a good run here and he did his thing. He taught a lot guys a lot of things, but on the other hand, we needed a change. Guys were kind of off-track with him or just kind of going downhill with him. It was a perfect time to do it with him and now we're going to recharge, we're going to reorganize and we're going to get back at it.

"We knew something was going to happen. It was just a matter of time. We didn't know how soon or whatever, but we knew something was going to go down."

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