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More Than Force

Skating Skills And Smarts Also Help Douglas Murray

Tuesday, 05.3.2011 / 1:11 PM PT / News
By San Jose Sharks Staff
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More Than Force
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The playoffs tend to be a rough and tumble affair. That’s exactly where the Sharks Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Detroit began heading during Game 2. The more physical it gets, the more it is up Douglas Murray’s alley.

San Jose Sharks center Benn Ferriero, upper right, is congratulated by defenseman Dan Boyle (22) and defenseman Douglas Murray (3) after scoring against the Detroit Red Wings during overtime in Game 1 of an NHL Western Conference semifinal Stanley Cup playoff hockey series game in San Jose, Calif., Friday, April 29, 2011. San Jose Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
“Playoff hockey in general is physical and he’s one of the most physical guys in the League,” Dany Heatley said. “He’s done a good job of blocking shots and killing penalties for us. He’s been great.”

Murray is San Jose’s 6-foot-3, 240-pound ultimate defender who happens to be at his best when the games are hotly contested for every loose puck. That’s when he can instill his will on the game the most.

“He’s a huge body,” Patrick Marleau said. “He keeps the forwards on their toes because they know he’s out there. He can step up in the neutral zone and lay a big bone crushing hit as well. He likes the rough stuff and doesn’t shy away from it. He goes towards it and makes guys uncomfortable.”

“He’s a huge man,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “He plays against the best players and handles himself very well. He likes the playoffs. He likes the rough stuff.”

The highlight hits draw the attention, but Murray’s skill level has minimized the offensive skills of players such as Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. In the 82-game regular season schedule, Detroit posted 261 goals, one short of leading the entire National Hockey League. In this series, they’ve scored just twice. Murray has played a big role in keeping Detroit’s offense in check.

When playing against the NHL’s best, Murray combines his intelligence with brute force.

“He’s very good with his stick,” Marleau said. “He gets sticks on pucks all over the place. It stops the rush from happening.”

“His size and strength overshadow everything else, but he reads the game very well,” Vlasic said. “He’s talking out there and that’s why he’s playing a lot.”

Murray also moves very well and if it wasn’t for his skating, he couldn’t be lined up with Detroit’s primary scorers.

“His skating is good for his size and how big he is,” Vlasic said. “He’s able to play against Datsyuk and Zetterberg, no problem. You need to be able to skate to play against those guys. He’s done a tremendous job.”

San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray (3) and Dallas Stars center Steve Ott (29) fight during the second period of the NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 15, 2011. (AP Photo)
“Just because he’s such a big guy and so physical,” Heatley said about Murray’s other skills getting overlooked. “He’s quick with those guys. Those guys get going side-to-side and moving and he does such a great job of picking them up and staying with them.”

Murray allows the offensive players to take calculated risks as they know “Sir” is there to assist.

“If you make one mistake and get beat,” Heatley said, “he does a good of blocking shots and boxing out in front of the net.”

Ironically, not of the previously mentioned traits can be considered Murray’s best. His will and desire are unmatched.

“The biggest thing is the compete factor in him,” Marleau said.

That Murray is able to play against the world’s best forwards makes him a goaltender’s best friend.

“He’s the type of player goalies really need,” Antti Niemi said. “When he’s on the ice, he’s playing defense first. Mentally, he’s like a second goalie, blocking shots, blocking passes and being strong in front of the net.”

A game with a 2-1 score may fit his style, but Murray says he’ll take any score as long as he’s on the right side.

“The playoffs are always fun, I think it’s a lot of fun winning 5-0, too,” Murray said. “It’s playoff time. As long as you’re winning, it’s fun.”

TOMORROW
Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Detroit will be at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. It will be on CSN California, 98.5/102.1 KFOX-FM and www.sjsharks.com.

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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