Penguins goalie Matt Murray ready to ring in new year | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

Penguins goalie Matt Murray ready to ring in new year

Jonathan Bombulie
1658732_web1_gtr-pens06-040119
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray makes a save again the Hurricanes in the second period March 31, 2019 at PPG Paints Arena.

Last June, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray got a ring.

It just wasn’t the kind of ring he has grown accustomed to receiving at the end of a hockey season.

It was a wedding ring.

Murray and his wife, Christina, held a surprise wedding at the couple’s lake house, letting only their closest friends and family members know in advance before a private ceremony. Murray’s prized Newfoundlands, Leo and Beckham, were his groomsmen.

“We don’t love the attention, so we did it quick, just the two of us at our lake house,” Murray said. “It was awesome. I loved it.”

Now about that other kind of ring …

At the end of his first two NHL seasons, Murray closed things with a championship.

At the end of his third season, the Penguins dropped a closely contested, six-game, second-round series to the Washington Capitals, who went on to claim the Stanley Cup a few weeks later. The Penguins could easily have rationalized that they were close to championship caliber.

At the end of his fourth season, no such excuses could be made. The Penguins had an up-and-down regular season followed by a humiliating first-round sweep at the hands of the New York Islanders.

With one day left before the start of training camp Friday in Cranberry, Murray thinks there’s one lesson the Penguins can take from their postseason failure.

“As a group, the way we handle it could be good for us, honestly,” Murray said. “We’re coming from a place where we got humbled last year. We didn’t play the right way. There’s a lot of things we can learn from that. We can take one more good look at last year and then start to move forward and heed the lessons from it.”

Murray’s comments echo those made by coach Mike Sullivan and general manager Jim Rutherford all summer. The Penguins will rebound, they say, by playing the right way.

It’s easy to see why this would appeal to a goaltender. Playing the right way, as Sullivan defines it, includes conscientious defense and puck management, thus avoiding odd-man rushes as much as possible.

“I think that’s how you win nowadays,” Murray said. “It’s not necessarily about who has the most skill anymore. It’s who’s going to play the best team game and not beat yourself. You’ve got to force the other team to beat you if you’re going to lose. That’s I think the biggest lesson we can take from last year heading into this year.”

While the Penguins have a plan to turn around their team game, Murray’s goals for the season include continuing his trajectory from a year ago. After returning from injury Dec. 15, he went 25-9-5 the rest of the way. His .930 save percentage during that span was fifth-best in the league.

“I feel good,” Murray said. “Just trying to keep building.”

As Murray’s game keeps building, he is quickly evolving from one of the younger players in the locker room to a respected veteran presence.

The kind of player that has a few rings … the championship variety as well as the wedding kind.

“Yeah, everybody’s getting old now,” Murray said. “Me and (Bryan Rust), we used to live together in Wilkes-Barre and now to see us, we both went out for dinner the other day and we were like, ‘Wow, we’re both married now. We’ve come a long way.’ ”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.