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Former Caps coach Bryan Murray dies at 74

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Former Caps coach Bryan Murray dies at 74

Former Washington Capitals head coach Bryan Murray died at the age of 74 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer on Saturday.

Murray coached the Caps for nine seasons. He remains the longest-tenured (672 games) and winningest head coach (343 wins) in team history. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1983-84 as coach of the year. Murray's legacy within the Capitals organization is further ingrained given that he also coached the Hershey Bears in the AHL. He became the head coach in 1980 and served there until he was promoted to Washington in the 1981-82 season.

The team released the following statement following Murray's death:

The Washington Capitals organization was saddened to learn of the passing of Bryan Murray. Bryan’s contributions to the game of hockey were outstanding, from his impact in Washington to his more recent service as a senior hockey advisor with the Ottawa Senators. Bryan shaped the lives and careers of countless players. Under his leadership, the Capitals saw the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In seven full seasons with Washington, Bryan led the team to the playoffs each year, and won the Jack Adams Award in 1984. Not only do we recognize his service to the Capitals, but also across several facets of the National Hockey League. Bryan devoted an incredible life to the sport, and his presence will be deeply missed. We offer our condolences to the Murray family, friends, staff, players and all those whom he touched throughout his storied career. 

Murray's NHL career spanned 35 years as a head coach and executive. In addition to the Caps, he also coached the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Ottawa Senators. Murray led the Senators to an Eastern Conference Championship in 2007. His overall coaching record was 620-465-131-23.

In 2014, Murray was diagnosed with colon cancer. He stepped down as general manager of the Senators in 2016 due to the illness.

Murray was known for his hockey career, but respected for his character. He was universally known to all who met him as a good person as the outpouring of sadness from around the hockey world that came following the news of his death can attest.

"Bryan Murray's strength and character were reflected in the teams he coached and the teams he built over decades of front office excellence," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "While his warmth and dry sense of humor were always evident, they were accompanied by the fiery competitiveness and determination that were his trademarks. As we mourn Bryan's passing, we celebrate his many contributions to the game -- as well as his courage. The National Hockey League family sends our deepest condolences, comfort and support to Bryan's family, his many friends and all whose lives he influenced."

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We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington


We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.