Bob Murray, Rob Blake to join Team Canada staff
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray and former King defenseman Rob Blake were named to the executive staff of Team Canada for the World Championships, which will be played April 29-May 15 in the Slovakian cities of Bratislava and Kosice.
Team Canada's general manager will be David Nonis, the senior vice president of hockey operations for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The scheduling appears to pose a conflict for Murray if the Ducks make the playoffs -- they’re eighth in the West as of Thursday afternoon -- but a team spokeswoman said there won’t be a problem if the Ducks qualify for postseason play. Murray’s main responsibility is to help pick the team and he’s not required to be in Slovakia. Should the Ducks be competing in the playoffs his duties with Team Canada would be secondary to his responsibilities with the Ducks.
It’s interesting watching Blake become increasingly involved in hockey at the executive level and moving along the fast-track toward becoming an influential figure in the game.
Blake, who lives in the South Bay, joined the NHL’s hockey operations department as a manager in late January. Last week, Commissioner Gary Bettman appointed him to a panel charged to look into various player-safety issues that were raised during general managers’ meetings earlier this week in Boca Raton, Fla.
Having retired after last season, Blake has a better feel for the current game than many executives whose playing days ended decades ago. And he doesn't have to recuse himself from disciplinary decisions because his son plays in the league -- at least not yet. Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, has had to withdraw from two procedures involving the Boston Bruins because his son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins. Young Jack Blake might make the NHL someday but Rob Blake won't have to worry about that conflict of interest for a while.
Blake's resume and intelligence give him credibility among players and league policymakers, and his involvement can only help the sport’s best interests.
-- Helene Elliott
Left photo: Ducks General Manager Bob Murray. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP. Right photo: Former King defenseman Rob Blake. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times