There were opportunities Monday during exit interviews for the
Ownership awarded General Manager
Coach Bruce Boudreau noted that his team was the "fifth-last team standing," and called Friday's sloppy, season-ending performance in a 6-2 Game 7 home loss to the
Yet, as the
"We could see the end of the tunnel," forward Corey Perry said. "And we just couldn't quite get there."
Murray will spend the next few months trying to find that "something." He made it a point to meet with each player Monday to "re-evaluate everything" as he strives to move the team forward.
"We're not as close as everyone thought we were," Murray said. "You have to learn to play under pressure. Obviously we didn't do that very well. You evaluate every piece of it."
There were some fundamental areas where the Ducks fell short. For example, Murray lamented a power play that went scoreless in five advantages during a 2-1 Game 6 loss to the Kings. He also said the team must win more faceoffs.
"I'm not satisfied, no way . . . very sour taste in my mouth at this moment," Murray said.
Goaltending is another area that will require attention.
Jonas Hiller, the primary goalie for the last six seasons, probably has played his last game as a Duck.
Hiller was largely passed over during the playoffs after going 6-9-3 to close the regular season and being in the net as the Ducks lost their first two home games in the series against the Kings. Murray said that in hindsight, Hiller should have been given more rest after playing in the Olympics for Switzerland, but Boudreau wasn't looking back.
"We played the players we thought were going to win us that game," Boudreau said. "If you look back and second-guess yourself, you're going to be in trouble. . . . It doesn't work."
With Anderson sidelined by a strained knee ligament, Gibson, 20, was torched for four goals in the Kings' first 18 shots in Game 7.
"We gave it a great shot," Boudreau said. ". . . Some guys were too wound up; others didn't want to make a mistake. The combination made a lot of mistakes. We'll live and learn, I hope."
There were some positives to consider, among them a 20-0-2 start at home, a streak of 19 wins in 21 games from Dec. 6-Jan. 30, and valuable experience gained by young defensemen Hampus Lindholm and
"All the stars were aligning," said Perry, who scored 43 goals skating alongside
The off-season will be time for some decision making.
Koivu expects to meet with Murray within a week. "It has to work both ways," Koivu said. "I don't want to come back if [I'm] not wanted."
The other unrestricted free agents are forward
Murray said he might revisit his trade-deadline attempt to acquire Vancouver center