Rugged Murray brings solid physical presence to Penguins
New Penguins defenseman Douglas Murray doesn’t mind if fans refer to him as “Doug” or “Douglas.”
“As long as they cheer,” he said.
It’s hard to believe they won’t.
Murray is a no-nonsense behemoth on the ice with a history of punishing hits, his on-ice demeanor and Scottish heritage (his family moved from Scotland to Sweden in the 1700s) making him a natural if a sequel to “Braveheart” is produced.
Off the ice, he’s something of a free spirit who figures to become quite popular among the team’s fan base.
Murray is co-founder and managing partner of Uber Dispensing Co., which developed the “UberTap,” a hands-free, three-pronged beer keg tap.
“That story follows me along,” Murray said during his first meeting with Pittsburgh media.
“It was a long time ago. I guess it took a bit too long to get beer in college, so we invented a quicker way to get it.”
Murray is no longer significantly involved in the business, which originated while he played hockey at Cornell University.
“My entrepreneurial spirit was going,” Murray said. “I learned a lot. It was a great experience.”
Murray’s entrepreneurial pursuit wasn’t the only time he has made a name for himself away from hockey.
He found his way into tabloids last year when he was spotted numerous times with Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods’s ex-wife.
Murray, of course, was not acquired because of his personal life or inventions but rather because of his ability to provide the Penguins with a physical presence on the blue line.
A generation ago, the Penguins employed Ulf Samuelsson, a Swedish defenseman who was among the most rugged players of his time.
Samuelsson became a cult hero while helping the Penguins win two Stanley Cups. Murray, 33, grew up emulating Samuelsson.
“For sure,” Murray said. “I definitely saw Ulfie as a kid playing over there. The ole’ Robo Cop. I definitely enjoyed his style of play.”
Murray is hoping Penguins fans approve of his style of play, which, by his own description, showcases a nasty edge.
“I try to be physical,” Murray said. “That’s definitely my strength. I hope I can keep my emotions in check here early so I don’t try to run around and get out of position. That’s one thing I’ve improved on. I bring physical play. If needed, I’ll stand up for my teammates.”
Murray won’t officially be received by Penguins fans until Thursday night when he faces Winnipeg at Consol Energy Center, but he already has a positive impression of his new team and city.
“All the people I’ve met so far have been really nice, really supportive,” Murray said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. You take it as a compliment when somebody trades for you.”
Murray isn’t afraid of throwing off chemistry that has developed during the Penguins’ 13-game winning streak.
“It’s a good mood in the locker room,” he said. “It’s a lot tougher going to a place with a 13-game losing streak.”