The San Jose Sharks announced today that defenseman Douglas Murray
has been selected as the Sharks Foundation “Player of the Month” for December. Murray will be recognized before tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Murray posted three points (three assists) and a plus-one rating in 12 games.
One of the NHL’s most physical players, Murray leads the Sharks and is seventh overall in the NHL (fourth among defensemen) with 130 hits. He was selected by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association to Sweden’s men’s ice hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Honors like this, along with being named to Sweden’s Olympic team, show it’s not all about numbers.
“Everybody likes to be recognized in some way shape or form for what they are doing,” Murray said.
Still, as a defensive-minded blueliner, Murray doesn’t look outwardly for praise.
“You’ve got to be able to be happy with yourself,” Murray said. “If you’re satisfied with yourself, everything else is extra.”
Murray is rewarded for his play by knowing his teammates realize how important he is to their success.
“This team always makes you feel good about good defensive play,” Murray said.
Murray’s defensive partner, Dan Boyle
, knows a thing or two about offense, but knows solid defensive skills are important.
“Statistics get guys recognized as far as the everyday fan,” Boyle said. “In this room, he’s one of four top guys and he doesn’t need top numbers. He’s important and (the award) makes everyone feel very happy for him.”
Boyle still chuckles to himself when opponents try to take a run at Murray.
“I enjoy watching guys try to run him over. I don’t know why they try and do it,” said Boyle, referencing the fact that the opposition usually ends up on the ice.
Murray has been mention by Head Coach Todd McLellan as the most improved player during his tenure.
“I believe since training camp last year, he has improved more than anyone on our hockey club,” McLellan said.
Murray’s play has been rewarded as he gets to play against the opponent’s top players, such as Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
“He has the ability to play against the other team’s top players and to keep them honest,” McLellan said.
This marks the first time Murray has been selected with the honor.
The Sharks haven’t allowed a first period goal in nine games. No wonder they’re on an eight-game winning streak.
“It’s a luxury and a lead in this League is very important,” McLellan said.
Center Manny Malhotra won’t be in the lineup tonight against the Kings as San Jose continues to evaluate his lower body injury. McLellan noted the team would know more later today.
The Sharks play hosts to Los Angeles Monday at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and the contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at sjsharks.com.