EVERETT — The diagnosis is in, and it’s not the news Ryan Murray and the Everett Silvertips wanted to hear.
An MRI revealed Everett’s captain and star defenseman has a slight labrum tear in his shoulder that likely will require surgery. He’s scheduled to travel Sunday to Columbus, Ohio, to have the shoulder examined and, if necessary, undergo the procedure.
Murray suffered the injury during Everett’s 5-0 loss at Victoria on Friday. Tips coach Mark Ferner wouldn’t speculate on how long Murray will be out, but the typical recovery time from labrum surgery is three to five months. That means the injury could potentially end Murray’s junior hockey career.
“The process for everybody is a little different, so I don’t want to speculate on that, but he’s going to be gone for a while,” Ferner said.
“I just feel so bad for Murr,” Ferner added. “Everything we’re hearing about the chance the NHL lockout ends, the World Juniors, it’s just terrible.”
Murray suffered a dislocated shoulder during the second period of Everett’s 5-0 loss at Victoria last Friday. He was defending Victoria’s Logan Nelson on a one-on-one when the players collided. Murray felt the shoulder give on contact. The problem was compounded when Murray landed awkwardly on the shoulder on the ice.
Murray is tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 23 games.
Murray has been a core figure since the moment he arrived in Everett. The 19-year-old from White City, Saskatchewan, was selected ninth overall in the 2008 bantam draft, and he’s been a top-pairing defenseman since joining the team during the 2009 playoffs as a 15-year-old. He became the youngest captain in franchise history when he filled in for the injured Landon Ferraro during the 2010-11 season at the age of 17, and he was named the team’s most valuable player each of the past two seasons, sharing the honors for 2010-2011 with goaltender Kent Simpson. Last spring he became one of the youngest players ever to play for Canada’s men’s national team.
Murray wasn’t even supposed to play with the Tips this season. He was selected second overall in June’s NHL draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he was expected to make the team as a 19-year-old. However, the NHL lockout prevented him from beginning his NHL career.
The injury also prevents Murray from returning to Canada’s team for the World Junior Hockey Championships, which take place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia. Murray, who was a member of last year’s team, was considered a lock to make this year’s team, provided he wasn’t playing in the NHL.
Now the Tips must forge ahead without their best player.
“You can’t replace a person like Ryan, not only on the ice but off the ice,” Ferner said. “We just want to make sure everything goes well as far a surgery and a speedy recovery. He has a tremendous career ahead of him and it’s a terrible thing that happened. But at the same time there’s nothing we can do about it right now. We just hope everything goes well as far as surgery and he’s back and playing as soon as possible.”
Murray’s mishap is the latest in what’s been a series of injuries to Everett’s top players. Among those who have missed significant time this season are top forwards Manraj Hayer, Joshua Winquist and Ryan Harrison, as well as No. 1 goaltender Austin Lotz.
Winquist and Harrison remain on the sidelines. Winquist, who is still tied for the team lead in goals with eight, will miss his 13th straight game Wednesday at Spokane because of mononucleosis. However, Winquist practiced with a no-contact jersey Tuesday, and Ferner said he may be ready to return over the weekend. Harrison remains week-to-week because of a slight meniscus tear in his knee.
The NHL’s Central Scouting Service released its preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL draft, and two Everett players were among the 32 WHL players listed. Defenseman Mirco Mueller was ranked seventh among WHL skaters, and goaltender Austin Lotz was ranked fourth among WHL goalies. The top-ranked WHL skater was former Everett draft pick Seth Jones, whose rights the Tips were forced to trade to Portland during the offseason. … Tips winger Dawson Leedahl was selected to represent Team West at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, which takes place Dec. 29-Jan. 4 in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Quebec. Also selected to the team was Tips prospect defenseman Justin Baudry, who plays for the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Team West includes the top 16-year-olds from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Everett forwards Tyler Sandhu and Ty Mappin were selected for Team Pacific last week.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.