If things go right for Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray this postseason, the Sharks will have a long playoff run and he’ll have about three months to spend in his native Sweden for the offseason.
The 29-year-old is acclimated to the American lifestyle, having spent the hockey season stateside since he was in high school. But he couldn’t hide his enthusiasm when it was announced that the Sharks will take part in two regular-season games in Stockholm to open the 2010-11 season.
“It’s not just going to Europe, we’re gong to Stockholm,” said Murray.
Next fall, he will get a bonus trip home as the Sharks will play Columbus in two games on his native soil.
“It’s very exciting for me for a couple of reasons,” said Murray. “It will be a treat to show the team my home and I will get to play in front of family and friends.”
Before this, friends and family had to fly thousands of miles just to see Murray. Now 6-foot-3, 240 pound defensman will come to them.
As for playing host to 22 other hockey players on the trip, that will be the least of Murray’s concerns as he also has fellow countryman Niclas Wallin to help with some translating.
“That’s not a problem,” said Murray of playing tour guide. “There are a lot of good sites to see.”
The game will be at the Ericsson Globe Arena on the outskirts of Stockholm and Murray knows the venue well. It is one of the world's largest spherical buildings.
“It looks like a golf ball,” said Murray, while also noting the facility is definitely of NHL quality.
He said the crowds will definitely fill the house.
“There will be plenty of people,” said Murray. “The tickets will be in high demand.”
Murray says with the wealth of Swedish NHLers, combined with the access to live NHL games on television or on the internet, Swedes are very aware of the NHL product.
“It’s a lot more than when I was a kid,” said Murray. “There is a lot more out there and the coverage is fairly regular.”
It’s just that when the media surround Murray after the first two games of next year’s regular season, they will be speaking his language.
RECORD Evgeni Nabokov extended his road winning streak to ten games with the 3-2 victory at Toronto on Monday night. That ties the NHL record for the longest single-season road winning streak by a goaltender, though it's a mark that he already shared. Nabokov won ten consecutive road decisions for the Sharks in 2007-08, matching the record established by Boston's Gerry Cheevers in 1971-72 and matched by Detroit's Chris Osgood in 2005-06.
NEXT GAME The Sharks will visit Columbus Wednesday in a 4 p.m. start that will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.