Ryan Murray was being polite, but he wasnt buying the question, not in the least. I had asked him, since his left shoulder had been bothering him before the dislocation last November, if it wasnt for the best that the injury happened now, when he is still very young and can likely bounce back quickly.
After pausing for a bit, the soft-spoken defenseman and 2nd overall pick by the Blue Jackets in the 2012 draft replied, You can definitely take positives out, although youve gotta dig pretty deep to get them. Im glad that I got it fixed, and now I can get it back to 100 percent, get it back where it needs to be. Its good that I can start working on it again, and itll be good as new, hopefully.
Thats what Murray is doing these days, working on his shoulder, right here in Columbus under the watchful eyes of the teams training staff. Murray hurt the shoulder in a mid-November game, playing with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL against the Victory Royals. He explained what happened that night.
Actually, the shoulder was bothering me for about a year, he said. It was just accumulating and accumulating, and finally I went to hit a guy, and he hit me and it just let go. It was really disappointing, with all the hype during the summer and the draft and all that, to not even get a tryout (with the Blue Jackets). But thats hockey, and thats life, and thats the way it goes. Its definitely disappointing but something youve gotta work through.
One of the disappointments was the initial postponement of his surgery. His doctor decided against performing the procedure right after the injury, preferring instead to let things in Murrays shoulder settle down.
I had to wait a month and a half to even get in for surgery because there were some issues going on after the dislocation, noted Murray. So I had to wait for those to heal up before the doctor wanted to do the surgery. That knocked me back a little bit, and right now Im 10 weeks post-surgery. I couldve been a little bit ahead of the schedule Im at right now, but obviously its important to follow the doctors best advice. You cant argue with that.
Something else we cant argue with is the progress Murray is making just two and a half months after his procedure. Hes skating every day, and while he isnt taking any slapshots yet, that doesnt mean hes not directing puck to net. The kid who put up 121 points in 191 WHL games is definitely finding the back of the twine these days during his post-surgical comeback.
I can shoot right now, actually, he said with a smile. Ive been out shooting, and as long as it doesnt hurt or bother me, its OK. I havent taken any slapshots yet, but wrist shots, I can rip them as hard as I can, and it never hurts, never gets sore, never bothers me. I guess thats a good sign, so far.
If hes able to avoid any setbacks, Murray should be able to let loose with his left handed slapshots and then start taking contact as the spring rolls into summer. His medical advisors have told him contact is likely a month and a half to three months away, which would put him on pace to attend his second Blue Jackets Prospect Camp. In the meantime, hes thrilled to be around the NHL team for this phase of his rehab.
Its great they invited me down, and I can work with the trainers and meet all the guys on the team, and kind of get my feet wet a little bit, said the Saskatchewan native. Im sure Ill learn a lot here, and Im just trying to go into the room every day and soak in as much as I can.
I love it here so far the short time that Ive been here he added. I got to come down for development camp last year, too, and I think the futures going to be bright here.
When he does get himself completely healthy and ready for the 2013-14 season, Murray is excited to think he may become an integral part of the rebuilding phase and bright future in Columbus. Hes well aware of the excellent core of players this franchise has moving forward and is anxious to join the mix and contribute.
Yeah, absolutely, theres a lot of talent and a lot of good players here he said. Im going to have my work cut out for me to try to make this squad next year. Its a great building phase theyre going through right now. I think within a few years, hopefully, well have a team here that can contend every year, and that will be great. But obviously my first focus is to work as hard as I can to make the team.