NHL

Ryan Murphy takes world junior snub in stride

Kitchener Rangers fans will see the same old Ryan Murphy rushing the puck up the ice Friday night, not the tentative player that failed to lock up a spot on the Canadian blue-line for the upcoming world junior hockey championship.

Hurricanes defence prospect vows to continue offensive ways with OHL Rangers

Defenceman Ryan Murphy will return to the Kitchener Rangers' lineup this week after failing to latch on for a second consecutive year with Canada's entry for the world junior hockey championship. (Greg Plante/Canadian Press)

Kitchener Rangers fans will see the same old Ryan Murphy rushing the puck up the ice Friday night, not the tentative player that failed to lock up a spot on the Canadian blue-line for the upcoming world junior hockey championship.

Murphy, who scored 26 goals last season to lead all Ontario Hockey League defencemen, didn’t meet the demands of head coach Don Hay at the Team Canada selection camp to play a more defensive game and was one of 13 players cut Wednesday as the final 22-man roster was announced.

"I was a little disappointed [in my play]. I held back on doing what I usually do and carry the puck," a tired Murphy said over the phone after touching down in Toronto. "I wish I was a little more offensive at times but I did what the coach told me to do and it wasn’t enough.

"Life goes on; it’s not the end of the world. I still have another year to crack the team."

'Up until now, I’ve had coaches that allowed me to be the player I am and I’ve realized that my reward is a lot greater than my risk.'— Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ryan Murphy

Murphy, who was cut from last year’s selection camp as a 17 year old, said he should be himself on the ice rather than adopt a conservative approach.

"When I had the puck on my stick I was thinking move the puck as quick as I can rather than beat the first guy and make a good outlet pass," said Murphy, now 18. "I guess I was a little nervous to make a mistake.

"I’m not really a nervous player. Up until now, I’ve had coaches that allowed me to be the player I am and I’ve realized that my reward is a lot greater than my risk. I just had to go into this camp and prove the same thing to the coaching staff there and it didn’t work out."

1st-round NHL pick

Murphy’s offensive talents led to the Carolina Hurricanes selecting him 12th overall in the 2011 NHL entry draft and the Aurora, Ont., native breaking camp with the team in October.

"For me to give up the offensive side of my game is a lot to ask," said the 18-year-old Murphy. "I’m solid in my own end as well but offence is a big part of my game."

Murphy has endured many ups and downs in the past calendar year, from being cut from Canada’s world under-18 and under-20 squads, to leading Kitchener to a playoff spot, to making the Hurricanes, to suffering a concussion to missing a second chance to represent Canada at the world juniors.

"I think the first word that comes to mind is disappointed," Rangers head coach and general manager Steve Spott told the Waterloo Region Record newspaper. "I know how motivated Ryan was to try and represent our country."

The third-year OHL defenceman said he felt 100 per cent at this week’s selection camp after missing nearly a month of action earlier this season with his second diagnosed concussion.

"He’s still the premier guy in the league for me when it comes to being an offensive defenceman," Spott said. "He’s a very confident young man and I know he’ll rebound from this."

The five-foot-11, 176-pounder will carry a four-game points streak into Friday’s game against the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Kitchener will then travel to Owen Sound for a Saturday date versus the Attack before the Christmas break.

"World juniors is a short-term tournament and it’s not like I’m going to change my game in Kitchener because I want to make a team at Christmas time," said Murphy, who has a goal and nine points in 14 games this season. "I’m just going to keep doing what I do in Kitchener. It’s got me a long way and I’m happy right now."

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