It has been more than seven weeks since Matt Murray inherited the role of undisputed No. 1 goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins, after goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 21.
But Murray still can't help but feel a twinge of sadness when discussing Fleury and what he meant to the Penguins.
"Marc had been such a fixture in Pittsburgh," Murray told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an article published Thursday. "To an extent, I feel like I was responsible for him leaving that. I know he probably would rather stay in Pittsburgh his entire career, for sure. I definitely feel bad in that regard.
"I want to have a career like [Fleury] did -- the guy who has been so successful for so long. ... At the end of the day, I'm not going to fill Marc-Andre Fleury's shoes. Nobody's going to fill Marc-Andre Fleury's shoes. It's about being myself, doing the best that I can each and every day, and it's about being better than I was yesterday."
Fleury, who won the Stanley Cup three times with the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017), is their all-time leader in wins (375) and shutouts (44).
Murray won the Stanley Cup twice in a span of 12 months, becoming the first rookie to win two championships, but said he feels no sense of entitlement.
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"I feel like I haven't really done anything yet," Murray told the paper. "I definitely don't view myself as anything other than a guy who's just trying to prove myself and be the best hockey player I can be.
"A year and a half even though we've won both times? I don't think it really says a whole lot in the long run. I think I have a long way to go, and I feel like I'm just kind of getting started."
Murray, 23, made his NHL debut Dec. 19, 2015, and has gone 41-12-5 with five shutouts in 62 regular-season starts. He has been even better in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning 15 games in 2015-16 and seven last season, and has a 1.95 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in the postseason.
Murray and the Penguins and Fleury and the Golden Knights will play twice this season; Dec. 14 at Vegas and Feb. 6 at Pittsburgh.
"We were obviously really tight while playing," Murray said. "He definitely helped me out a lot. We talked a lot. Now I'll text him just to say good luck with your new team. I hope to see him when I can during the season, say hello to him and say thank you. … It's a business, but we're still people."