He’s baa-aack!

That’s right, Everett’s captain Ryan Murray is officially back in the fold, at least for now.

Murray was back on the ice with the Tips this afternoon, taking part in practice after arriving back in town this morning. Murray was expected back either today or Thursday, but he made a priority of getting here as quickly as possible. Murray had been in Minneapolis, taking part in training with his agency’s other professional hockey clients, then made a quick detour through his home of White City, Saskatchewan, before coming to Everett.

Murray, of course, was not expected back this season. He was selected second overall in this year’s NHL draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets and signed an entry-level contract with the teams, and the Tips were resigned to losing him to the NHL for his 19-year-old season. However, the impending NHL lockout has complicated matters, and since Murray is younger than 20 he’s not eligible to play professionally in the minors, so Everett is his only option for now. However, in case there were any questions, the NHL and the players union came to a written agreement that players can be recalled from their junior teams once the lockout ends. In a typical season players can not play professionally once they’ve been returned to their junior teams. However, players were able to be recalled the last time the NHL had a work stoppage that was resolved during the season in 1994, and this just confirms that will again be the case. The Tips were operating under that assumption anyway, so they’re full cognizant of the fact that Murray’s stay could be brief.

Murray was all smiles on the ice today and expressed happiness about being back in Everett. And that’s even with being welcomed back in a rather intense manner. During drills Murray caught an elbow from Ty Mappin and started bleeding pretty good from his upper lip. But, as seems to be the case with hockey players in general, he didn’t miss a rep.

Murray said he did not know whether he would play in either of Everett’s final two exhibition games, which take place this weekend. His return gives the Tips 12 defensmen on the roster (Lucas Grayson is still listed as a defenseman, though he’s now practicing as a forward) with just over a week left in the preseason, so GM Garry Davidson has some work to do there.

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