PITTSBURGH -- "Crankshaft" was anything but cranky during his first day with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Two days after being acquired via trade from the San Jose Sharks, 6-foot-3 defenseman Douglas Murray went through his first practice with his new team Wednesday.
At 245 pounds, Murray instantly became the largest Penguins player. If his first opportunity to speak to the Pittsburgh media is any indication, he also is among the Penguins who are larger-than-life.
Murray said several Penguins asked him what nickname he preferred, many asking specifically about "Crankshaft."
"I've had so many nicknames through the years -- one that actually stuck was Crankshaft," said Murray, who declined to discuss the origin of the moniker. "Over time, it became 'Cranky' -- which I don't like because I'm not a cranky person. I really don't care. People can call me whatever they like."
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 3
SOG: 13 | +/-: -8
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma
spent part of Wednesday calling Murray things like "physical," "intelligent" and "hard-hitting."
Murray's size and presence is something the Penguins identified as a need. He arrived in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and went through a "crash course" on the team's system Wednesday morning before his first practice in the early afternoon.
"One thing is apparent right away in talking with Douglas is he's an extremely intelligent player," Bylsma said. "He's a player who's played with one team and one coach for a long time, so there is a series of steps we're going through. It's different thinking versus going out and playing, but a common theme Douglas has shown right away is his intelligence and hockey IQ.
"We're going to see Douglas Murray play without thinking and doing what he does bring to the table right away. But there will be a little of that adjustment."
On the ice, maybe. Off it, Murray said everything's been smooth. Then again, he is joining a team that is on a 13-game winning streak.
A native of Bromma, Sweden, Murray said he grew up watching the player who is arguably the most popular Swede the Penguins have ever employed: Ulf Samuelsson. Murray plays a similar game.
In terms of assimilating with his new teammates, as Murray put it, "hockey players are so easy to blend into."
Projected to play a top-four role, including on the penalty-killing units, Murray is scheduled to make his Penguins debut Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
"It's a great locker room in here, and all the people I've met so far have been really nice and supportive," Murray said. "It's exciting. There's nothing more I can ask for so far."