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Murley's at Home

By Chris FitzGerald

Troy Record, October 4, 2006

In a perfect world, Matt Murley would have remained in the National Hockey League.

The Troy native nearly made the Colorado Avalanche's regular-season roster, but instead will have to settle for the next best thing - playing in his hometown.

Murley, who had high hopes of joining the Avalanche, was assigned to Albany on Tuesday, one day before the Avalanche's season opener tonight in Denver against the Dallas Stars.

Murley arrived in town Tuesday evening, along with defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Jeff Finger.

"Everybody wants to be in the NHL, and after playing at that level last year you realize you want it even more," the left winger and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute All-American said. "But this is also good, I played here in college and I really enjoyed that, playing (before) my family and friends."

Murley appeared in 41 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, but sat out the remainder of the season after suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder. After successful surgery, he signed with Colorado and set his sights on preparing for training camp in Englewood, Col.

"Everybody knows that coming into training camp it's tough to crack that roster," the 26-year-old Murley said. "And with my shoulder surgery maybe I was a little rusty, but I did some good things. I guess it wasn't good enough."

When he signed with the Avalanche, Murley thought he had a strong chance at making the club because forward Alex Tanguay moved on to Calgary and Dan Hinote signing with St. Louis.

"I knew they had a lot of guys there, but I would be looked at as a depth guy," Murley said. "I'm making excuses, because of the layoff I wasn't entirely at my best out of the gate."

As a Group 6 Free Agent, Murley signed with Colorado in July after four seasons with the Pittsburgh organization.

"I liked everything - they have a winning tradition there and they didn't have a lot of depth guys, so I thought I'd be able to fill in there," Murley said. "Plus they have an AHL team in Albany, so everything was a plus by signing with them."

Murley has enjoyed some of his best success playing against the River Rats.

"I really like this area and they're a team I grew up watching," Murley said. "It will be pretty cool playing with him."

Albany is in the first year of a dual affiliation with the Stanley Cup Carolina Hurricanes as well as Colorado.

"It's a fresh start for the organization and with the new affiliations, it looks like we have a good team and that's exciting," Murley said. "I think it will be a lot different style of hockey than the fans here have seen in the past. I hope we can have a lot of success to make everybody happy."

Originally Pittsburgh's second-round choice (51st overall) in the 1999 draft and the highest RPI player selected in an NHL Draft, Murley played portions of three seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, so he knows what to take from the minor-league experience.

"I was probably more prepared for this camp than any other camp," said Murley, who made his NHL debut when he appeared in 18 games with the Penguins in 2003-04. "But just to get out there and get some ice time will be good. Now I can work on getting better and improving on a lot of things."