Bragging rights are extremely important in the world of professional sports. Hockey teammates would never try to show each other up on the ice or talk down to anyone as a teammate. However, once they are off the ice, ribbing a friend over who is the best at anything is free game.
If you are the best fantasy football player, everyone knows about it. If someone tries claiming the ping-pong title from Dan Boyle
or the unofficial badminton championship from Devin Setoguchi, they had better be prepared to back it up. And then be prepared for the reminders if they lose.
Well none of them have anything on Douglas Murray
as The Sporting News recently named him one of their 20 smartest athletes. The category included mentions from the four major sports and colleges as well and only one other hockey player made the list.
In the Sharks lockerroom, Murray stands alone.
To his credit, Murray is not only an Ivy League product (Cornell), but he also simultaneously started his own business while becoming a standout NHL blueliner. Those are pretty strong credentials, but Murray isn’t mentioning it much right now.
“I haven’t talked about it, it’s more for (the media) to talk about it,” said Murray, letting the rankings stand alone.
Some of his teammates heard about the rankings for the first time Thursday and there was some good nature joking about it.
“How is that possible,” joked fellow Swede Niclas Wallin, who was within earshot of Murray. “I’m happy it’s a defenseman. That’s good for him, he’s a good kid. He’s got a good education and it shows why he is up there.”
“How did they decide that, that is what I want to know,” said blueline partner Dan Boyle
, adding his own shots. “He’s my partner and I love him, but if he’s the 16th smartest athlete, it’s a scary thing.”
Someone had to give the big fellow some love on the subject and Joe Thornton
stepped to the plate.
“He’s a smart cookie,” said Thornton. “He tells us he’s a smart cookie, so I believe him. He’s a Cornell grad and everything, a good Ivy League school. He’s a smart guy and we’re happy for him.”Marc-Edouard Vlasic
said the ratings were probably slighted to the players who went to college.
“He’s a smart guy, I’ll give him that,” said Vlasic. “They just looked at where he went to school I guess. It stinks for me because I came up right away. I got shortchanged because I (was here). Really, he is a smart guy and you can’t take that away from him.”
And if you argue with him, he can say could always end the argument with the unbiased rankings which say he is smarter than anyone in the room.
Where Murray could be the best expert on the club concerns his native Sweden and he is excited to play tour guide for his teammates this fall. He has also offered up some tips for fans heading across the Atlantic to see in his homeland.
“When you are in Stockholm, there are a couple of things you have to do,” said Murray. “You definitely have to visit old town. It starts with the castle, then you have all the well preserved small streets. You can visit a restaurant, Gyllene Freden, that is older than the United States. That is something you definitely have to do. Seeing all the islands is a must. There are a lot of boats that go on different tours. Taking a boat for the day and looking at the archipelago is up there. You are right on the water and it’s really clean. Just relax and find your own little spots.”
Murray says from a hockey perspective the Globe Arena is a special building.
“Go watch the Sharks and Columbus at the Globe, it’s going to be one hell of an event,” said Murray. “It has a unique look to it. It is a cool design and nice.
As for dining, Murray says there is only one way to go.
“Definitely try to stick to fish and shellfish,” said Murray. “I think the fish is better there than here. The steaks in general are probably better here. Fish in general is something I would recommend and try out anything you don’t recognize on the menu. That’s what I do when I travel. If you see it multiple times, it’s usually pretty good. The classic starter in Sweden is skagen. It’s a shrimp mix.”
The language barrier should not be much of a problem for Americans.
“You get English menus almost anywhere you go,” said Murray. “You can go to any shop and get your way around the entire city with English. Pretty much every single Swede knows how to speak some English. They speak English anywhere. It won’t be a problem at all.”
As for the hospitality, Murray says travelers will enjoy meeting he locals. They may not be as outgoing as some cultures, but if you need anything, feel free to reach out and they will be more than accommodating.
“They are always nice,” said Murray. “They’re not as (aggressively) nice as Americans are where they take charge in talking with you. If you start talking to Swedes, you will find out how nice they are. They won’t want to bother you unless (you reach out to them).”
COUTURE RESTSLogan Couture
was given the day off, but fans should expect to see him back in action for the weekend preseason games.
When the Sharks participate in the split squad games with Phoenix this Saturday, there will be enough players for both teams and the same will go for the coaches.
“Coaching wise, myself, Woody (Jay Woodcroft) and Cunny (David Cunniff) will stay here and Yawns (Trent Yawney), Mattie (Matt Shaw) and Roy (Sommer) will go to Phoenix,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan.