A guy named Steve Wozniak wrote something for Yahoo Sports about how Murray is the weak link on the Pens' blue line. The article mentions that Deryk Engelland can go stride-for-stride with speedy NHL forwards, so there's that. Also, this gong show was written on the heels of Game 3, which makes it all the more puzzling.
Here are some good quotes from the article:
On what Bylsma's decision may be when Orpik returns:
Odds are that the odd man out will be Engelland but in the fishbowl that is the Stanley Cup playoffs, his ability to go stride for stride with speedy forwards carries extreme significance.
The writer bases his whole article around Murray's play on the penalty kill, which was at 79% when he joined the team and which is still 79%:
The more startling stat is that of the 10 power-play goals given up by the Penguins since his arrival -- the slow and plodding Murray was on the ice for nine of them. The next worse ratios on the team belonged to Orpik and Matt Cooke, who were each on the ice for 21 of 34 power-play goals scored against Pittsburgh. Being partially responsible for 90 percent of the team's penalty kill failures doesn't inspire confidence, nor does a negative plus-minus (minus-1) while playing for the league's highest-scoring team.
The whole plus/minus argument is always a good time. If it supports your case, you'll include the stat. If it doesn't support your case, you can conveniently leave it out and no one will notice.
"Being partially responsible." In this age of the fast-moving Internet, you got to be partially responsible enough to go back and watch the 9 goals that the Pens' PK has given up with Murray on the ice. We'll admit we didn't go back and watch the goals, but we're not the ones saying Douglas Murray is partially responsible for these goals. Did a goal come from another player leaving their position? Did a goal come on a slapshot through traffic from the point?
And where's the stat showing the percentage of penalties Murray has killed while he was on the ice? He's partially responsible for those kills probably.
The onus is on Wozniak to deliver. Hell, we could be completely wrong about Murray. Maybe our "man crush" has us looking at everything through Murray-shaded glasses. Fortunately, Wozniak has the chance to prove his case and shut us up:
1. Here are the Penguins' results at ESPN, which show the games in which they gave up a PP goal.
2. Here are the Penguins' results at NHL.com. There, you will find links to videos of every goal scored, as well as links to the games' event summaries like this one, which include the players who were on the ice for every goal. Find the goal in the event summary then go watch the goal. If we were writing this Murray bash piece, we would've gone this extra mile to prove our point, as we did in showing Paul Martin's dazzling play in crunch time of Game 3.
By the way, there's a reason we linked to that specific event summary. That's the 6-1 loss to the Rangers at MSG, where the whole team was a train wreck and the Rangers scored 3 times on the man advantage. Murray was on the ice for all of them.
Last thing. Here's an interesting tidbit from Rob Rossi's recent article about Orpik's importance to the lineup:
The sight of skilled Islanders forwards — most notably right winger Kyle Okposo — driving to the net with success over the past two games has left an impression on more than just Bylsma.
“It's definitely been to our advantage to try to do that,” Boyes said, noting that only defenseman Doug Murray has proven an imposing obstacle for the Penguins.