EVERETT — Ryan Murray seems to be playing under some kind of Alberta curse.
But Murray’s just glad it isn’t anything worse.
The Everett Silvertips captain is once again having to remain home during Everett’s road trip through Alberta, thanks to the ankle injury he suffered last week.
Murray suffered the injury last Wednesday in Everett’s home game against Brandon. He was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and is expected to miss around five weeks. Therefore, when Everett’s bus departed Sunday for the Tips’ six-game swing through the WHL’s Central Division, Murray stayed behind to rest and rehabilitate his ankle.
This isn’t the first time Murray’s had to stay behind while his teammates headed to Alberta. Two years ago Murray suffered a broken thumb just before the team departed to visit the Central Division, home of all five of the WHL’s Alberta-based teams. He was left behind then, too. Given that Everett only goes to Alberta every other year, it seems unlikely the 18-year-old Murray will ever play a WHL game in Alberta as a Silvertip.
“That would have been a lot of fun to go there with all the guys,” Murray said. “I’ve never played in Alberta, I got hurt the same time when I was 16, so it’s a bit of the Alberta road trip curse, I guess.”
While Murray was disappointed to miss out on Everett’s longest road trip of the season, he was happy his injury wasn’t anything worse than a sprain.
“I just kind of got hit off balance and fell kind of funny,” Murray said. “It’s just a freak accident, I guess. As soon as I fell I felt my ankle kind of buckle on me a bit, so I skated right off. Something felt not right.
“I’m actually pretty happy it wasn’t worse,” Murray added. “I think it could have been a lot worse than it is. There’s no break or anything, so that’s great news.”
The injury is minor enough that it shouldn’t affect Murray’s stock for the 2012 NHL draft, when he’s expected to be a top-10 pick. However, it might affect his availability for Canada’s team for the World Junior Hockey Championships. Murray’s timetable has him returning in late November. That leaves just a handful of games for getting up to speed before tryouts take place in early December.
“It’s right around that time frame, I guess,” Murray said. “I just have to work hard in rehab and get ready to play.
“I’m hoping it’s not five weeks,” Murray added. “I’m hoping I can be back earlier than that. But we’ll see how the rehab goes. It’s too early to tell right now.”
Around the WHL
Former Silvertips winger Kellan Tochkin was on the move again. The 20-year-old Tochkin, who was dealt by Everett to Medicine Hat at last year’s trade deadline, was flipped to Prince Albert on Monday in exchange for 20-year-old defenseman James Bettauer and a sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. … Defenseman Austin Connor chose to retire rather than report to Vancouver. The 19-year-old was involved in a trade between Vancouver and Prince Albert last week. The Giants received a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft as compensation. … Calgary forward Victor Rask signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. The 18-year-old rookie from Sweden was a second-round pick by the Hurricanes in this year’s NHL draft. … Vancouver’s Brendan Gallagher was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 19-year-old forward had three goals and four assists as the Giants went 2-1.
League leaders (through Sunday)
Points — Mark Stone (Brandon) 28; goals — Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat) 16; assists — Stone, Kevin Sundher (Victoria) 19; penalty minutes — Adam Lowry (Swift Current) 43; wins — Matt Hewitt (Regina) 9; goals against average — Nathan Lieuwen (Kootenay) 1.44; save percentage — Lieuwen .948.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.