Penguins' Murray Keeps Getting Hurt
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to the NHL, a team will only go as far as their goaltending can take them.
Look at what the Chicago Blackhawks are experiencing right now. They have been without their starting goaltender Corey Crawford for months and they will probably miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins seem to have a very injury prone netminder in 23-year-old Matt Murray. Murray, a two-time Cup winner, has already had several injuries thus far in his short career, as Hockey News writer Matt Larkin outlined in the linked piece in the previous sentence.
In practice on Monday, February 26, 2018, Murray took a puck to the head. As of this writing (February 27, 2018), he was diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely.
This is not the first time he has been injured this season. In late November, he was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury when Philadelphia Flyers' forward Jakub Voracek collided with him on a breakaway.
In last year's playoffs, he got hurt in warmups prior to Game 1 of their first round series with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He did not come back till Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the Ottawa Senators.
In April of 2016, he suffered a concussion in a collision with then Flyers' forward Brayden Schenn. He ended up missing the start of the playoffs that year.
Murray also broke his hand as a member of Team USA in the 2016 World Cup. He also missed some time that NHL season with a lower-body injury.
This is a young goaltender that keeps getting hurt. While these injuries are not his fault, it is very alarming just how often he is injured.
Yes, when between the pipes, Murray has performed very well. In 103 career games, Murray is 64-25-7 with a 2.52 goals against average, a .918 save percentage, 6 shutouts.
Oh yeah, he is also a two-time Cup winning goaltender. Not too many 23-year-old netminders have accomplished that, but Murray was able to in consecutive seasons.
With this newly diagnosed concussion, no one knows when Murray will be back in net. As every hockey fan should know by now, returning from concussions takes time and given the fact that this is not his first concussion, Murray and the team's medical staff will need to be extra careful.
Unfortunately for the Penguins, this injury puts them in an uncomfortable spot. While team head coach Mike Sullivan said he is comfortable going with a combination of Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry and that the team has had success with inexperienced goaltenders, it certainly is not ideal for a team that is gunning for their third straight Cup.
While I hope Murray comes back sooner rather than later, I truly hope that both he and the Penguins can figure out a way to stop getting hurt so much.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.