Programming note: Canadiens-Sharks coverage starts Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – Former Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray harbors no ill will towards the organization, after he was traded to Pittsburgh just prior to last season’s trade deadline.
He’d still like to leave town with a win, of course, as he makes his first appearance as a visiting player tonight when the Sharks host Montreal. Murray signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Canadiens in August after spending the first seven-and-a-half years of his NHL career in a teal sweater.
“I have no hard feelings about the trade. It’s part of the business. I have no animosity or anything with it,” Murray said. “It was a hockey trade. … We had a bad stretch of games and I was a part of it, like everybody else on the team.”
“At the same time, it’s a pride thing and you want to win. I’m excited for the game.”
Murray, who turns 34 on March 12, missed the first Sharks-Canadiens game at Bell Centre on Oct. 26 with an upper body injury. He made his season debut just two days later, and has played in 44 games since then. Murray has two assists and 13 penalty minutes, and a -13 rating while averaging 14 minutes and 32 seconds of ice time as part of the third defense pair.
After sending two second round picks to the Sharks for Murray’s services last March 25, the Penguins chose not to re-sign him at the conclusion of last season in which they lost in the Eastern Conference finals to Boston.
Murray's anticipation to play against many of his former teammates in the building he called home for so many years was evident after the morning skate.
“It’s special, that’s for sure,” said the six-foot-three, 240-pounder. “Can’t really describe it yet because I think I’ve got to go through it to understand it. I obviously had a great seven-and-a-half years here. I loved everything about it.”
“The fans here, they make it so special to play here because it’s a hidden gem, if you want to call it that. They were great every year and they get really loud and it just makes it really exciting. It’s a very tough team to play at home, thanks to the fans. We’re in for a big game tonight.”
Murray visited the Sharks’ practice facility on Friday, as the Canadiens, who will wrap up a four-game road trip tonight, enjoyed a day off in the Bay Area. Murray revealed he got a chance to see his godson, Joe Thornton’s son River, who was born this past summer.
Keeping his emotions in check for the game will be imperative, Murray said.
“I’m weird I usually try to play harder against my friends. Bragging rights is important, and pride is important. I think the biggest thing for me is trying to stay calm and focus on my game and not looking to make a big hit, because I usually get myself in trouble then.”
“If I get a chance, I’ll hit anyone.”
“I’ve seen Cranky play and hit a lot of people pretty hard so hopefully I can skate away from him tonight,” said Logan Couture. “It will be fun to play against him. He meant a lot to a lot of guys in this room, myself included. I enjoyed being his teammate for the years I was with him.”