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Joe Murphy (ice hockey)

Joseph Patrick Murphy (born October 16, 1967 in London, Ontario) is a Canadian former professional hockey player who was chosen first overall in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. Murphy won Calder Cup and NCAA championships before being a member of the Edmonton Oilers' Stanley Cup-winning team in 1990.

Joe Murphy
Born (1967-10-16) October 16, 1967 (age 52)
London, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
Played for Detroit Red Wings
Edmonton Oilers
Chicago Blackhawks
St. Louis Blues
San Jose Sharks
Boston Bruins
Washington Capitals
NHL Draft 1st overall, 1986
Detroit Red Wings
Playing career 1986–2001

Detroit Red WingsEdit

Joe Murphy became the first NCAA college player to be selected first overall[1] when he was selected in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. Murphy had been a stand out centre with Michigan State, but with Steve Yzerman and Adam Oates handling the first and second line duties in Detroit, Murphy found little room to develop his game with the Red Wings. He spent the bulk of his rookie pro season in the American Hockey League with the Wings farm club in Adirondack.[2]

The following season Murphy split time between the AHL and the NHL playing fifty games with Detroit after converting to right wing. He managed just ten goals and 19 points and ended up back in the minor leagues for the majority of the 1988-89 season where he really found his game putting up 31 goals and 66 points in just 47 games. That spring Murphy played a key role for the Adirondack Red Wings capturing the Calder Cup to complete his breakout pro season. The next season, 1989–90, Murphy scored three goals in the first nine games of the season for the Red Wings. He was then shipped to the Edmonton Oilers as part of a blockbuster six-player trade that landed Jimmy Carson and Kevin McClelland with the Red Wings and sent Murphy, Adam Graves, Petr Klima and Jeff Sharples to Edmonton.[3]

Edmonton Oilers and Chicago BlackhawksEdit

With the Oilers, Murphy joined a young and up-and-coming core, but his development seemed to stall with just seven goals and 25 points in 62 games. However, that spring, in the playoffs, he found another gear. Coach John Muckler put Murphy with Adam Graves and Martin Gelinas on a line dubbed the "Kid Line" (Murphy and Graves were 21 while Gelinas was just 19) where he enjoyed great success, putting up 14 points in 22 playoff games and providing solid secondary scoring for the Oilers en route to a Stanley Cup triumph over the Boston Bruins. "They put our line together about the third game of the playoffs and all I recall is us just saying ‘Let’s go out there and work hard,’ Gelinas said of the 1990 Cup team. "Murph had a lot of skill and Gravy was the big, heavy guy. All three of us combined created a pretty good energy and a big buzz. We got some timely goals, but more importantly when we were on the ice we were just making things happen".[4]

Murphy built on this success the next year scoring 27 goals and 62 points then improved again the following year with career-best totals of 35 goals and 82 points. That spring Murphy led the surprising Oilers all the way to the Conference Finals where they fell to Chicago but Murphy's team leading 24 points in just 16 playoff games saw him finish fourth in post season scoring despite his team not playing in the final round. The breakthrough offensive totals came at the right time for Murphy whose contract expired following the season. Murphy and Oilers General Manager Glen Sather tried to work out a new contract through the summer with no success and ultimately broke off talks in September, before training camp with the two sides $300,000 apart.[5] With Murphy holding out, the 1992-93 season went on with him working out with the Detroit Falcons of the Colonial Hockey League and awaiting a trade that wouldn't come until February.[5]

Murphy was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks and given a new three-year contract with an option year before he joined the club for the final 19 games of the season and posted 7 goals and 17 points. His first full season in Chicago, the 1993-94 campaign, saw Murphy pot 31 goals and 70 points, which would prove to be his best year with the Blackhawks. The following year Murphy led the Hawks in goals with 23, and posted 41 points in 40 games in a lockout-shortened season.

In 1995-96 he managed just one more goal despite playing 30 more games and dipped to 51 points in 70 games, well off his point-a-game pace of the previous season. Perhaps more concerning was the fact he was one of only two forwards — the other being tough guy Jim Cummins — to finish the year with a negative plus/minus rating. With wingers Tony Amonte and Eric Daze eclipsing him as the primary scoring wings, Murphy was allowed to leave town when his contract expired.

St. Louis Blues and San Jose SharksEdit

On July 3, 1996, Murphy signed a 3-year, $10 million deal to join the St. Louis Blues[6] but after scoring 20-goals and 45 points he fell short of the lofty expectations that came with his new contract. The next season, he posted just four goals and 13 points in 29 games before the Blues traded him to the San Jose Sharks for defensemen Todd Gill. Because of his large contract, the Blues also needed to send cash to San Jose in the transaction to get the deal done.[7]

With the Sharks, Murphy rebounded and put up 9 points in ten games then led the team with 25 goals the following year and finished second on the team with 48 points. Despite his success, he left the team as a free agent in the off-season and was unable to find any takers.

Late career turmoilEdit

The off-season came and went with Murphy not finding work before he eventually managed to land a try-out with the New York Rangers in November 1999. Rangers General Manager Neil Smith had been the GM of Adirondack when Murphy played for the club so the two had some history. However the tryout was very short lived as Murphy signed a contract with the Boston Bruins less than a week after beginning his try out with the Rangers. The Rangers, who weren't offered a chance to match the offer, felt spurned in the situation and Murphy made bizarre accusations about his sticks being partially sawed in half and one of his skates being "thrown in the river" by Smith.[8]

Things in Boston didn't go much better for Murphy. He lasted just 26 games with the Bruins before the team suspended him indefinitely for "screaming profanities at coach Pat Burns."[9] Murphy made few friends in the Bruins locker room and was said to have questioned his teammates' work ethic and was known to tell off both teammates and the coaching staff. "This has been going on for a while," Burns said at the time of the suspension. "The players have had enough and I have had enough."[10] The Bruins, unable to find a team willing to trade for Murphy, placed the winger on waivers where he was claimed by the Washington Capitals.

With Washington, Murphy was given a very short leash. Team officials did their due diligence speaking with former coaches and teammates of Murphy before making the claim and General Manager George McPhee said if Murphy caused any issues with team he would be shipped out immediately.[9] Murphy played 43 games with Washington over the next two years before ending his career on a particularly low note. Murphy, who had just one goal and six points in 14 games to start the 2000-01 season, was involved in an altercation in New York. After a team dinner and a trip to a night club, Murphy tried to talk a woman into joining him in a limo. She refused and a fight ensued which led to the woman's male companion striking Murphy in the head with a bottle.[11]

The following day the Capitals assigned Murphy to their American Hockey League affiliate. Murphy refused to report and was suspended by the team and never played professional hockey again. Murphy tried — and failed — to file for workers compensation because the incident happened while he was traveling for work. The Department of Employment Services ruled that while Murphy was in New York for work reasons and the dinner was a team event, the bar Murphy traveled to after the dinner had nothing to do with his employment. Murphy appealed the decision and lost.

Awards and achievementsEdit

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1984–85 Penticton Knights BCHL 51 68 84 152 92
1985–86 Michigan State University CCHA 35 24 37 61 50
1986–87 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 71 21 38 59 61 10 2 1 3 33
1986–87 Detroit Red Wings NHL 5 0 1 1 2
1987–88 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 6 5 6 11 4
1987–88 Detroit Red Wings NHL 50 10 9 19 37 8 0 1 1 6
1988–89 Adirondack Red Wings AHL 47 31 35 66 66 16 6 11 17 17
1988–89 Detroit Red Wings NHL 26 1 7 8 28
1989–90 Detroit Red Wings NHL 9 3 1 4 4
1989–90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 62 7 18 25 56 22 6 8 14 16
1990–91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 27 35 62 35 15 2 5 7 14
1991–92 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 35 47 82 52 16 8 16 24 12
1992–93 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 19 7 10 17 18 4 0 0 0 8
1993–94 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 80 31 39 70 11 6 1 3 4 25
1994–95 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 40 23 18 41 89 16 9 3 12 29
1995–96 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 70 22 29 51 86 10 6 2 8 33
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 75 20 25 45 69 6 1 1 2 10
1997–98 St. Louis Blues NHL 27 4 9 13 22
1997–98 San Jose Sharks NHL 10 5 4 9 14 6 1 1 2 20
1998–99 San Jose Sharks NHL 76 25 23 48 73 6 0 3 3 4
1999–2000 Boston Bruins NHL 26 7 7 14 41
1999–2000 Washington Capitals NHL 29 5 8 13 53 5 0 0 0 8
2000–01 Washington Capitals NHL 14 1 5 6 20
NHL totals 779 233 295 528 710 120 34 43 77 185

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1986 Canada WJC 7 4 10 14 2

Post-retirement lifeEdit

Murphy became the coach and general manager of the GMHL Alliston Coyotes in their inaugural season. However, he took a leave of absence from the team midway through the playoffs due to an undisclosed allegation which resulted in a Trespass Order issued against him by the Town of New Tecumseth.[12] On March 5, 2014, Murphy formally announced his resignation.[13]

In 2017, Murphy was living in Costa Rica. He ended up living on the streets and was eventually deported back to Canada.[14]

On July 6, 2018, Murphy visited the studios of Q104 / KenoraOnline and DrydenNow to talk about his struggles with post-concussion symptoms, as well as his participation in the class action lawsuit with the NHL. He acknowledged that despite earning over $15 million during his NHL career, he was essentially homeless and destitute in Kenora.[15] Murphy would further elaborate upon his situation "Finding Murph", in a SportsCentre feature[16] that aired a month later.[17] The segment's creators, Josh Shiaman, Rick Westhead, Stuart Roberts, Devon Burns and Michael Banani, received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Sports Feature Segment at the 7th Canadian Screen Awards.[18]

In October 2018, the Detroit Free Press reported that Murphy was homeless and living in Kenora, Ontario. The report stated that his situation was caused by multiple concussions resulting in symptoms of frequent headaches, wild mood swings, and personality changes, including becoming an enforcer, starting to take drugs and alcohol. He was found by fellow former NHL player, Trevor Kidd on the original W5 report, where Murphy admitted he had been living in shelters and tents around Ontario, where most of his earnings in the NHL had been donated to various projects.[19][20] In March 2019, he completed treatment through the Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS) live-in program at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.[21] In August 2019, USA Today Sports reported Murphy was once again homeless in Kenora, Ontario and "refusing help." [22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ King, Tom (Sep 28, 2010). The Legendary Game: Ultimate Hockey Trivia. Trafford Publishing.
  2. ^ "Hockey Hall of Fame". legends of hockey.
  3. ^ "Hockey Hall of Fame". legends of hockey.
  4. ^ "Top 100 Oilers: Joe Murphy (26)". Oilers Nation. 2017-03-19. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Oilers Trade Murphy to Blackhawks". UPI.
  6. ^ "HockeyZonePlus - Salary History Database". Hockey Zone Plus. Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Murphy, Joe". NHL Trade Tracker. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Diamos, Jason (1999-11-13). "New York Times". nytimes.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "The Washington Post". www.washingtonpost.com. 2000-02-11.
  10. ^ "The Globe & Mail". www.theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  11. ^ "Washington City Paper / District Line Daily D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Against Former Cap Player". www.washingtoncitypaper.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  12. ^ "madhunt.com: Alliston Coyotes head coach banned from New Tecumseth facilities while OPP investigate". www.madhunt.com.
  13. ^ Pritchard, Brad (5 March 2014). "Alliston Coyotes coach leaving team".
  14. ^ Seidel, Jeff (2018-10-10). "Joe Murphy was the Red Wings' No. 1 pick. Then he became homeless". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  15. ^ Aiken, Mike. "Retired NHLer battles concussions - kenoraonline.com".
  16. ^ TSN Original: Finding Murph, retrieved 2018-08-23
  17. ^ "Former Red Wings No. 1 pick Joe Murphy homeless now, according to film". Sporting News. 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  18. ^ "Josh Shiaman, Rick Westhead, Stuart Roberts, Devon Burns, Michael Banani: 2019 Best Sports Feature Segment". Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, February 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "Joe Murphy was the Red Wings' No. 1 pick. Then he became homeless".
  20. ^ Official W5 (2018-10-29), W5: The rise and fall of a Stanley Cup champion, retrieved 2019-03-31
  21. ^ "Murphy starts over in Thunder Bay".
  22. ^ https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nhl/joe-murphy-the-no-1-pick-in-1986-nhl-draft-is-homeless-again-—-and-refusing-help/ar-AAFwtke?ocid=spartanntp

External linksEdit