MURRAY USING 'MATURE APPROACH' AS MOTIVATION TO GET BACK TO NHLOct 6, 2022
By Suzie Cool
“It’s tough. Getting cut at any point in training camp is not a good feeling,” stated forward Brett Murray when asked his initial reaction to being assigned to the Rochester Americans amongst the first round of cuts during Buffalo Sabres training camp.
Last year, Murray made it to the final round of cuts at main camp before coming to the Flower City. Murray had more of a stable role in Buffalo last year, seeing time in 19 games with the Sabres and totaling career-highs in the National Hockey League with his six points on two goals and four assists.
It would be easy for Murray to be affected by the unexpected demotion, however, the fourth-year pro refuses to let that be the case. Instead, he wants to use his time wisely in Rochester, knowing that there’s a lot of talent coming through the Buffalo organization now.
Getting a call-up to Buffalo won’t be easy, but Murray wants to be as prepared as possible for when that time comes.
“We have a lot of skilled players in this organization now and they're getting their shot and I'm not seeing it as getting cut. I would say just moved down temporarily. In the game of hockey, it's a rough sport. They're going to need extra bodies eventually and I'm going to come down here (Rochester) and prepare every day for when my name's called back up.”
That’s as mature an approach if we’ve ever seen one.
“He’s got a mature approach and he's earned that approach through time,” commented Amerks head coach Seth Appert about Murray’s even keeled mindset when bouncing back and forth from Buffalo to Rochester. “Every year he gets better. Every year he produces more in the American League. He plays a bigger role in the American League. He's earning more time in Buffalo and you never want to get cut and never want to get sent down, but he's handled it like you expect him to.”
Last season Murray handled the up and down movement with ease, further proving and establishing himself in the American Hockey League.
Using his size and skill around the crease, Murray posted a career-high 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 52 regular season games with Rochester. In the postseason, Murray elevated his game to an even higher level, appearing in all 10 playoff contests for the Amerks while totaling six points, including an overtime game-winner to help the Amerks advance to the North Division Semifinals.
Appert knows that no matter how much back and forth Murray may face this season, he is going to put in the work to try and keep his game at the next level. Which just so happens to work out great for the Amerks.
“He’s going to come down here and he’s going to work. The biggest thing for a guy like him is he needs to keep getting better and he’s been able to do that and not plateau his development in any year that I've been with him,” explained Appert when further discussing what he’s seen from Murray over the last two years under his helm. “(This year) He has to make another step and the next step is a hard one, which is to go from being a call-up guy to being a full time NHL player.”
In total, Murray has appeared in 134 games with Rochester, registering 76 points on 33 goals and 43 assists. From being a player that wasn’t considered a “big” prospect in the 2019-20 campaign to combining for 21 games with Buffalo over the last two seasons, Murray has made enormous strides in his game.
It only seems right that this trend will continue with the mindset and vision that Murray brings to the rink every day.
“That’s a tough question,” commented Murray when asked how he stays in this positive headspace no matter where he’s at. “Being mentally tough is huge because it can be a little difficult to understand why you're going up and down so much and why you’re playing a lot of minutes and not playing a lot of minutes. You just kind of have to look at it like you're getting opportunities.”
Although Murray would love nothing more than to earn a full-time spot in Buffalo this year, he’s fully focused on the task he has at hand in Rochester currently. The Amerks forward is going to use this initial opportunity to work extensively with the training and coaching staff to further develop his speed, skill and strength so that he can take his game back to the NHL at a peak performance level.
The opportunity to get to even play in the NHL has never gone unnoticed to Murray; he feels lucky every single day.
Murray finished with, “I’m getting an opportunity to play in the NHL and that's been my dream my whole life.”
We’re just hoping he gets to live out that dream for a little while longer this season.