RALEIGH — On a day when one rookie defenseman went down with what appeared to be a very serious injury, another impressed in his first game of his young career.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond was cut severely during morning practice Thursday in a fluke accident and had to be rushed to a hospital, where he had surgery for a laceration to his right femoral artery and vein.
That night, an admittedly nervous Ryan Murphy not only skated in his first game as a Hurricane, but earned the start. The Jets won 4-3.
“I was a bit (nervous) for the first couple of shifts stepping out there with guys like Evander Kane and guys that I watched on TV,” Murphy said. “But as the game went on you just figure out that they’re hockey players just like me and you move on.”
Less than 48 hours before his first NHL start, Murphy was on the ice with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. The rookie defensemen joked about hearing he would be called up for the first time.
“I walked off the ice in Kitchener from practice and coach (Steve) Spott called me over and told me he had bad news,” Murphy said with a laugh. “I’d be missing the games in Kitchener that weekend … it was good news and a bit of hectic travel but it was worth it.”
He was a bright spot for the Hurricanes on an otherwise dreadful night defensively. After finishing with two shots on goal and two blocked shots in 23 minutes and 51 seconds on the ice, Murphy was commended by coach Kirk Muller.
“I thought he was great,” Muller said. “For a young kid he moves the puck well and makes great decisions. He joined the rush at the right time and I was really happy with him.”