Wow. Get sick and want to be dead for three days and the world goes all to hell.
So. Briefly: I don't mind retaining Murray. I have been starting to think that the recent problem with the franchise has been higher up the foodchain than Murray is. And yes, the problem is that there really is only one seat higher up the organizational foodchain than the GM: the owner.
The GM ultimately works for the pleasure of the owner, and if the owner is convinced that we are one tweak away from winning it all, and he has particular tweaks he wants made -- well, that's what you as a GM do. You do your best to talk him out of it, sure, but at the end of the day, the owner's pleasure will carry the discussion.
I hope that Murry and Melnyk had a come-to-Jesus talk before the "dump salary" order that was issued in January. The current group of guys were clearly not going to get the job done, and the last four seasons have showed a steady decline in the franchise's fortunes.
Melnyk must have either come to Jesus or has decided that the rebuild is over and permitted Murray to see out this rebuild effort.
Or... Melnyk hasn't been the meddler this scenario makes him look like and Murray is responsible for the last four years of mediocrity. In which case, Melnyk is an idiot for retaining Murray. But frankly I don't see this as the most likely scenario. I think that Melnyk is no idiot, just a passionate fan who wants to see his team win, now, and happens to have the GM's private line.
Three years? I still think that's optimistic for a rebuild. It all depends if Melnyk is going to let Murray do his job.
Over to Coach Clouston. I don't think the problems on the ice were entirely his fault, but I don't think he is entirely blameless. When he swept in here a year and a half ago and turned around another hopeless season into a hopeless season with potential, I think we all got carried away. Frankly though the problems with the franchise have been much deeper than that, and that showed when everyone clearly stopped listening to him this year.
But the fact of the matter is, the players clearly did quit on Clouston, and many of those players remain.
Since this is a rebuild, and Clouston's contract is in fact up, now is an excellent moment to make this change.
So, in summary: I provisionally approve of both actions.