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Canadian defenseman Murray proving he belongs

by Mike G. Morreale /
EDMONTON - As the youngest player on the Canadian National Junior Team roster, Everett Silvertips captain Ryan Murray has certainly had a lot on his mind the last month.

Despite that fact, the 2012 draft eligible defenseman just so happens to be playing like a seasoned veteran alongside Scott Harrington for the unbeaten Canadians. Murray told that he believes his role along the blueline for Canada coach Don Hay has changed a bit.

"I think so," Murray said. "They want me to be a shutdown guy here, which I kind of do in Everett too. They want me to keep things extremely simple. If I can chip in offensively, that's great, but that's not my job. My job is to shut down the other teams' top line."

Murray has two assists and is tied for the team lead with a sizzling plus-8 rating in three games for the Team Canada.

"We have similar personalities, we're both pretty quiet, but on the ice we keep it composed in our end and let the forwards do their work," Harrington said. "We really hit it off and we're roomies in this tournament. He's a great guy and we get along really well."

Canada defenseman Dougie Hamilton also had high praise for Murray.

"I think he's doing really well coming back from an injury and I think he played one WHL game before he came here so obviously that's good on him," Hamilton said. "I played with him a lot in the past in the Under-18's and camps and roomed with him, he's a good guy and good player."

Murray is looking forward to playing rival Team USA in front of 16,000-plus Canadians at Rexall in the team's final Group B preliminary-round tune-up before heading to Calgary for the medal round.

"It's definitely going to be a very exciting game," he said. "We know that they're a good team and we know they've played hard. They have a lot of good players so it should be a very exciting game and we're all looking forward to it."

Is he surprised that the U.S. won't be advancing into the medal round?

"Well, Czech goalie Petr Mrazek had an outstanding game [on Friday] and he's a great goalie," Murray said. "His team really rallied behind him and they really fed off his energy. It just goes to show that anybody can beat anybody in this tournament."

Murray is in his third season in Everett and, despite missing a few games with a sprained ankle, has rebounded into form. In 11 games with Everett, he has 3 goals and 7 points. In 2010-11, he finished third on the team in scoring with 46 points and led the Silvertips with a plus-18 rating.

He admits learning plenty under the tutelage of Hay.

"He's been stressing to move pucks up quick and whenever there's somebody open you have to move it to them," Murray said. "Sometimes, back in Everett, we'll skate with the puck a little more. But here, coach wants the puck on his forwards' sticks and you have always got to get deep. It's the little details you have to do right every single time."

Something Murray is learning quite well.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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