In the aftermath of Bobby Ryan’s hit on Oscar Moller, Terry Murray was very direct and firm in saying that he didn’t think Ryan should be suspended. Murray thought it was a bad play, yes, but has remained completely consistent — at least in the time that I’ve covered him — in not calling for suspensions.
Time and again, Murray has talked about how dangerous plays need to be eliminated by the players, themselves, having more respect for each other on the ice. But in terms of on-ice enforcement, players are limited by the stringent “instigator” rule. If a Kings player, for instance, had gone after Ryan (or any other Duck) after the hit on Moller and received an instigator penalty, it would have meant an automatic one-game suspension (because it took place late in the game). I asked Murray if there were any rules, along that line, that he would like to see changed…
MURRAY: “The only rule change that you would make in that is taking out the instigator rule and let the players police it. At times, though, then you’re throwing it to risk. There might be some of those things that happened back in the 70s and 80s, with bench-clearing brawls, so there’s a concern with that.
“To me, the only way the players could respond, and have the heavyweights take care of things, would be to do that, outside of players having more respect for each other and clearly knowing that when a player is in a defenseless position… In the last 10, 15 years, there has certainly been enough information out there and awareness to the fact that hitting from behind is a very dangerous thing.”
Seeking to illustrate how dangerous the sport can be, Murray referenced Travis Roy, who, in 1995, suffered paralysis during his first shift at Boston University when he fell head-first into the boards while attempting a check.
MURRAY: “I know Travis Roy real well. I’ve known him from the time he was a little kid, running around the dressing room. I know his situation today. If anybody needs to have any awareness to that, just take a look at some pictures or video and see where he is in his life today. That happens so innocently. I think there’s just got to be some communication with the players’ association. There has to be, maybe, bulletins passed out through the association to constantly remind the players that recklessness is not going to be tolerated.”