Penguins’ starting goaltender Matt Murray has been diagnosed with a concussion according to a tweet posted from the team’s official Twitter account. Murray will not participate in Tuesday’s practice session with his teammates, and head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to address the media following practice where he will discuss the injury in further detail.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray has been diagnosed with a concussion and will not practice today. Coach Sullivan will address the injury after practice.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 9, 2018
Since breaking into the NHL during the 2015-16 season, Murray has dealt with numerous concussions that have forced him out of action for extended periods of time. He missed the beginning of both the 2016 and 2017 playoff runs recovering from a concussion.
As a whole, the Penguins are not stranger to the injury — having gone through the whole situation with captain Sidney Crosby in the past — but have been on the forefront of concussion research with the UPMC team doctors since.
One thing to keep in mind when discussing Murray’s propensity for concussions, once you sustain one, you are more susceptible to suffering future concussions since they become easier to repeat.
It is not clear at the time when Murray may have concussed but he did practice with the team on Monday, where the PG’s Jason Mackey even mentioned he stayed on the ice late to work with goalie coach Mike Buckley after the normal practice had concluded.
There was an instance during Saturday’s game where Murray was bowled over by Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher following a goal.
Per coach Mike Sullivan, Murray’s injury took place at practice on Monday.
Coach Sullivan on Murray: “The injury happened in practice yesterday. There is currently no timetable on his return.”— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 9, 2018
Murray also suffered his most recent previous concussion also in a practice last February, when an errant high shot struck his head, though it remains unknown exactly how or how severe at this point the injury is.
This obviously means, with the news about Marc-Andre Fleury sitting out Thursday’s meeting between the Penguins and Golden Knights, that the goaltender battle will be Casey DeSmith vs. Malcolm Subban — as everyone predicted.
We will hopefully know more when Mike Sullivan addresses the media later today and we will update this post when more information becomes available.
UPDATE (Part 2):
In Sullivan’s media availability following the injury news break, he confirmed that Murray approached the coaches after practice on Monday, and his concussion diagnosis followed suit. Once that was cleared up, the head coach was then asked to discuss his plans on moving forward with the depth the Penguins have at the goaltender position.
“(DeSmith and Jarry) are good goalies,” he said. “We believe in these guys. They’re young, but their body of work last year was very strong. They won games for us. We believe these guys can make the timely saves for us to help us win. It’s at times like these where we’ve got to rely on our depth. Both (DeSmith) and (Jarry) have shown that their NHL-caliber goalies.”
Sullivan was also asked about Murray’s timetable and when the team hopes to have him return to full health, but he shot any sort of clear answer down right away, immediately answering with a stern “no.”
With this being Murray’s third concussion a the ripe age of 24, Sullivan was also asked about the Penguins’ concerns with his ongoing health moving forward.
“It’s really hard to draw any conclusions with this (type of injury), because everybody’s different,” he said. “That’s been my experience in dealing with concussions with different players over the years. The nature of these (concussions) are different. Sometimes players bounce back extremely quick, and others tend to linger. It’s hard to predict. I really haven’t given much thought or consideration into it. At this point we’re hoping (Murray) will get healthy, and when he does, we know he’s a very good goalie.”
Hopefully Murray’s recovery is short-lived and he comes back healthy under his own terms. For now, the Penguins have a lot of confidence in their back-ups, and with all the experience under their belts from last season, they have every reason to.