Injury benches Silvertips’ impressive rookie

EVERETT — Ryan Murray had quite the start to the 2009-10 Western Hockey League season. However, the Everett Silvertips’ prized youngster is having his impressive rookie campaign put on hold.

The 16-year-old defenseman will be out four to six weeks after suffering a broken thumb during Saturday’s 5-4 victory at Kelowna.

Murray, a native of White City, Saskatchewan, had transitioned seamlessly into the WHL, despite turning 16 just three weeks ago. However, he suffered the injury when he was checked from behind into the boards Saturday. He underwent surgery to repair the break.

“It’s unfortunate for Ryan,” Everett coach Craig Hartsburg said. “He was off to a really good start. But he’ll be back. It’s unfortunate for him, he’s probably more disappointed than anybody.”

It’s unfortunate for the Tips, too. Murray, Everett’s first-round pick in the 2008 bantam draft, gave a glimpse of his abilities when thrust into the lineup against Tri-City in the first round of the playoffs last season at the age of 15, immediately becoming one of Everett’s top four defensemen.

However, no one could have anticipated just how big an impact Murray would have right from the beginning of his rookie season. From day one he was part of Everett’s top defensive pairing alongside Radko Gudas, logging major minutes in all situations. In Everett’s first eight games, he tallied nine assists and was an astounding plus-14, which going into Tuesday night’s games ranked him third in the WHL.

The injury benches Murray for of Everett’s swing through the Central Division. Alex Theriau likely will be asked to pick up the slack in Murray’s absence.

In other injury news, left wing Dan Iwanski continues to be held out of practice. Iwanski hasn’t played since Oct. 7 because of a knee injury. Hartsburg said he’s hoping Iwanski will be able to resume skating later this week.

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