The Kraken’s latest opponent comes to town Thursday reeling from the NHL’s latest scandal: The resignation Wednesday of longtime Anaheim Ducks vice president and general manager Bob Murray following allegations of workplace misconduct, reportedly involving verbal abuse of staffers.
Murray, 66, had been placed on administrative leave Tuesday following a preliminary investigation by a firm hired by the Ducks to carry out an “independent” investigation into his conduct within the team’s workplace culture. He announced in a statement late Wednesday that he is enrolling in an alcohol treatment program.
“I want to apologize to anyone adversely affected by my behavior,” said Murray, at the team’s helm since November 2008 and the league’s third-longest tenured GM. “I vow to make changes to my life, starting with enrolling in a treatment program. … As I step away from the Ducks, I will focus my attention on where it should be: improving my life for the betterment of my family and friends.”
Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said in a statement: “First and foremost, we apologize on behalf of the organization to anyone affected by misconduct from Bob. We expect every member of our organization to be treated with respect and will not stand for abuse of any kind.”
The scandal is the latest to rock the league in recent weeks, coming on heels of a report detailing how top Chicago Blackhawks executives covered up allegations of a 2010 sexual assault by then-video coach Brad Aldrich against a player — onetime Everett Silvertips junior star Kyle Beach. The alleged assault occurred during that year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, and the executives and coach Joel Quenneville were said to have urged the matter be set aside until after the Blackhawks’ successful championship run that spring.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and senior vice president Al MacIssac resigned upon the report’s release. Quenneville, who had since joined the Florida Panthers, was controversially allowed by the league to coach a game before he resigned following a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
McCann off COVID-19 list
Kraken center Jared McCann was back on the ice for the first time in two weeks Wednesday after being removed from COVID-19 protocol. The team reassigned forward Max McCormick to AHL Charlotte to clear roster space.
It was the second stint in COVID-19 protocol for McCann this season, but this time went far worse than the first.
“It hit me pretty hard,” McCann said.
His fourth day in protocol was when the worst symptoms began.
“I didn’t have any taste or smell,” he said. “My energy level was kind of up and down. You don’t really know what you’re going to get. But it’s just adversity, and you’ve got to battle through it.”
McCann said he has “no idea” where he contracted the coronavirus. His girlfriend, who lives with him, did not have it.
Kraken coach Dave Hakstol was noncommittal about whether McCann — who didn’t skate while in protocol — will play Thursday.
The Kraken were down one centerman in practice Wednesday, with Yanni Gourde day-to-day after getting hit on a knee by the puck in Tuesday’s loss to Vegas.
Better, but not enough
Kraken center Alex Wennberg, who drew an assist on Tuesday night’s opening goal by Jordan Eberle against the Golden Knights, echoed the sentiments of teammates by saying he saw improvement in many areas. But ultimately, he added, those gains must lead to wins.
“At the end of the day, it’s the result you need,” he said. “I mean, obviously, we can play as good as we want, but if we don’t get the two points then it’s a disappointment.”
Among the improvements was Eberle scoring on the power play, snapping an 0-for-23 drought by the team. Marcus Johansson set up the play by driving to the net for a shot and Eberle putting the rebound home.
Johansson had gone nearly a month without playing after an opening-night injury at the same T-Mobile Arena. But Hakstol had the confidence to stick him on the power play right away, and Wennberg saw the move pay dividends after passing his Swedish countryman the puck.
“He’s a really skilled guy,” Wennberg said. “Obviously he’s played a lot down low there, so you see how when he gets the puck he’s a threat. So for me when you put him in there and you send him the puck you’re creating a Grade A chance.”