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Don Murdoch - What could have been?

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02-09-2012, 08:22 PM
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Smelling Salt
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Don Murdoch - What could have been?

http://wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Don_Murdoch

I was too young to remember him. What kind of skill set are we talking about? Comparable players? That injury in his rookie season was unfortunate but otherwise he seemed to throw his career away on booze on drugs.

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02-10-2012, 04:33 AM
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cam042686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smelling Salt View Post
http://wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Don_Murdoch

I was too young to remember him. What kind of skill set are we talking about? Comparable players? That injury in his rookie season was unfortunate but otherwise he seemed to throw his career away on booze on drugs.
Thats what happened. Murdoch was a great skater, and had a shot that had to be seen to be believed. Kid could do everything.

Craig Wallace

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02-10-2012, 07:18 AM
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cam042686
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While we are discussing Don Murdoch I thought of his drug bust in 1977 and subsequent suspension by the NHL in 1978. Can anyone describe or explain the attitude of the NHL and pro sports in general towards alcohol and drugs? For example in Murdochís case he gets busted at Toronto International Airport with a small amount of cocaine. The NHL suspends him for an entire season, then upon appeal lowers it to 40 games. Craig McTavish murders a young woman while drunk driving (also a criminal offense.) He gets a year in jail. The NHL does nothing to him. I donít believe the NHL did anything to Dany Heatly when he killed his teammate while drunk driving. Yet Borje Salming was suspended back in the 80ís when he admitted he smoked weed in the past.

Where is the logic here? And I am not just picking on the NHL. In the NFL players like Ricky Williams get suspended for using weed. And yet other players who get arrested and convicted for beating up their girlfriends or spouses or driving drunk Ė the league does nothing. Is it just because booze is such a prominent sponsor for pro sports and the leagues donít want to upset the alcohol industry?

Craig Wallace

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02-10-2012, 10:46 AM
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reckoning
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It may be hard to find today, but I recommend the book Thin Ice: A Season In Hell With The New York Rangers. It's another one of those "reporter travels with a team for a season and keeps a diary about it" books, but it does talk a lot about the "seedier" side of pro sports, and while specific drug use isn't explicitly mentioned, it's clear that Murdoch had a lot of personal issues that he wasn't mature enough to overcome at the time. There can be a lot of temptations and bad influences in New York (and other large cities) for a young man who's popular and makes good money.


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02-10-2012, 11:32 AM
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Craig McTavish murders a young woman while drunk driving (also a criminal offense.) He gets a year in jail. The NHL does nothing to him.
That word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

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02-10-2012, 12:20 PM
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cam042686
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That word... I don't think it means what you think it means.
Granted a strong word - both he and Heatly killed people while driving drunk. That is a very serious criminal offense. And the NHL did nothing to them. And yet they suspended Murdoch, Salming and Natress for minor drug offenses which hurt nobody.

Craig Wallace

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02-10-2012, 12:39 PM
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I think things would be different if the MacTavish incident happened now.

Drunk driving didn't carry the stigma back then that it does now. It was almost considered something that everyone did.

We have made great strides as a society when it comes to drunk driving.

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02-10-2012, 12:50 PM
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Can anyone describe or explain the attitude of the NHL and pro sports in general towards alcohol and drugs?
What's it got to do with sports? Isn't policy just a reflection of the culture at the time? And yeah, people didn't have any problem with drunk driving unless the person was totally ****faced. Somebody not drinking at a party so that they could be the sober driver - lol.

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02-10-2012, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cam042686 View Post
Granted a strong word - both he and Heatly killed people while driving drunk. That is a very serious criminal offense. And the NHL did nothing to them. And yet they suspended Murdoch, Salming and Natress for minor drug offenses which hurt nobody.

Craig Wallace
Let's try manslaughter or vehicular homicide.

Murder usually involves intent, premeditated or not.

But yeah, it's a cultural issue. But really, the NHL just mirrors society's priorities. I.e "pot is evil, while car accidents are just one of those things."

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02-10-2012, 01:29 PM
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Ironic that Don's nickname was "Murder" Murdoch.

He did manage to tear up the CHL in Wichita with Tom Roulston. But he never could make a comeback stick.

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02-10-2012, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by saskganesh View Post
Let's try manslaughter or vehicular homicide.

Murder usually involves intent, premeditated or not.

But yeah, it's a cultural issue. But really, the NHL just mirrors society's priorities. I.e "pot is evil, while car accidents are just one of those things."
In this day and age, anyone getting behind the wheel while intoxicated must have intent to injure or kill others. Everybody knows that is the result of drunk driving.

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02-10-2012, 01:58 PM
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Please keep this to a discussion that involves both history and hockey (and not the morality or politics of drunk driving).

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02-10-2012, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cam042686 View Post
While we are discussing Don Murdoch I thought of his drug bust in 1977 and subsequent suspension by the NHL in 1978. Can anyone describe or explain the attitude of the NHL and pro sports in general towards alcohol and drugs? For example in Murdochís case he gets busted at Toronto International Airport with a small amount of cocaine. The NHL suspends him for an entire season, then upon appeal lowers it to 40 games. Craig McTavish murders a young woman while drunk driving (also a criminal offense.) He gets a year in jail. The NHL does nothing to him. I donít believe the NHL did anything to Dany Heatly when he killed his teammate while drunk driving. Yet Borje Salming was suspended back in the 80ís when he admitted he smoked weed in the past.

Where is the logic here? And I am not just picking on the NHL. In the NFL players like Ricky Williams get suspended for using weed. And yet other players who get arrested and convicted for beating up their girlfriends or spouses or driving drunk Ė the league does nothing. Is it just because booze is such a prominent sponsor for pro sports and the leagues donít want to upset the alcohol industry?

Craig Wallace
I think you have to look at each incident individually.

Heatley wasn't 'drunk driving' when Snyder was killed - he'd had one beer. That was just a tragic accident caused by some young guys going too fast in a nice car. It happens, sadly. You can't suspend a guy for an accident. His biggest punishment is the guilt he has to live with.

MacTavish's situation was handled by the courts - was jailed for a year and missed an entire NHL season. The sentence he received essentially meant he got a one-year suspension, and I don't know that more punishment would have accomplished anything.

_________

I do agree that some of the suspensions for minor drug use during the 1970s and 1980s were utterly ridiculous. Doesn't happen now, obviously - attitudes have changed and emphasis is more on rehab. And the NHLPA has more power to protect players. Compare the Grant Fuhr and Kevin Stevens situations, which happened only 10 years apart.

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02-10-2012, 10:43 PM
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Yepp. Good old Donny Murdoch. Back to back 80 goal seasons in Junior. Like a lot of the "Me Generation" of 70's players (born 50-58) having a good time took precedence over all else, and that didnt include work or being terribly responsible, while also calling for a whole lot of marathon drinking sessions & of course experimentation with a wide range of pharmaceuticals. Legend has it he spent a lost week or weekend somewhere with Margaret Trudeau... I guess after she'd moved on from Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones. Immortalized in their song Star****** (and that doesnt spell Starbucks Baby ). But I digress...

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02-11-2012, 11:03 AM
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Thanks guys. Some interesting info.

Seems like he had a ton of skill and produced when he did play, just not like he could have. Too bad.

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02-11-2012, 07:55 PM
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He's Mark Messier's second cousin, I believe.

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02-11-2012, 08:29 PM
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He's Mark Messier's second cousin, I believe.
Never heard that one before, though Mark Messier is related to about 4-5+ other guys who have played in the NHL. Mark played with his 2nd cousin Joby Messier in NY.. Don Murdoch has an older brother (Bob, forward) who played in the NHL for California, Cleveland & St. Louis over 10 years, often mixed up with the "other" Bob Murdoch who was even older than Dons brother Bob, a defenceman and no relation, went on to Coach in Chicago & elsewhere, won the Jack Adams, last heard from in Europe... confused enough yet?.

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02-12-2012, 02:46 AM
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Never heard that one before, though Mark Messier is related to about 4-5+ other guys who have played in the NHL. Mark played with his 2nd cousin Joby Messier in NY.. Don Murdoch has an older brother (Bob, forward) who played in the NHL for California, Cleveland & St. Louis over 10 years, often mixed up with the "other" Bob Murdoch who was even older than Dons brother Bob, a defenceman and no relation, went on to Coach in Chicago & elsewhere, won the Jack Adams, last heard from in Europe... confused enough yet?.
There's an incredibly confusing period in the mid-1970s when there was two Bob Murdochs and two Bob Murrays all playing in the NHL at once. I still scratch my head a bit whenever any of those guys come up in a discussion.

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01-30-2014, 03:35 PM
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The Great Don Murdoch - Murder Murdoch of New York Rangers - 5 Goals in 1 Game

Regarding Don Murdoch of New York Rangers, I was at the game vs. the Minnesota North Stars at the great old MET Center in which "Murder" Murdoch scored 5 goals, yes 5 goals in one game. Having season tickets for the entire life of the North Star franchise and being a serious amateur hockey player myself in hockey crazed Minnesota, I have to say it was one of the most electrifying performances I ever saw. It made me a lifelong fan of
Don Murdoch...

Don Murdoch was a pure natural goal scoring talent, who moved on the ice in a stealthy, ghostly sort of way. Pouncing on opportunities with lightening fast quickness. Fun to watch and I attended or watched every game of his I had a chance too.

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01-30-2014, 04:05 PM
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John Zeigler suspended a former hab for 40 games for pot posession but yea Don was a good player but like some had personal issues and drugs hides the demons.The habs player was Natress

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01-30-2014, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by 5goals1game View Post
Regarding Don Murdoch of New York Rangers, I was at the game vs. the Minnesota North Stars at the great old MET Center in which "Murder" Murdoch scored 5 goals, yes 5 goals in one game. Having season tickets for the entire life of the North Star franchise and being a serious amateur hockey player myself in hockey crazed Minnesota, I have to say it was one of the most electrifying performances I ever saw. It made me a lifelong fan of
Don Murdoch...

Don Murdoch was a pure natural goal scoring talent, who moved on the ice in a stealthy, ghostly sort of way. Pouncing on opportunities with lightening fast quickness. Fun to watch and I attended or watched every game of his I had a chance too.
I remember that game well...he had 4 goals with a faceoff in the North Stars end with less than 10 seconds left....Espo put him right at the top of the circle, then won the faceoff directly to him....Murdoch blasted a one-timer for his 5th goal of the game.....against Pete Lopresti I think.

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01-30-2014, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5goals1game View Post
Regarding Don Murdoch of New York Rangers, I was at the game vs. the Minnesota North Stars at the great old MET Center in which "Murder" Murdoch scored 5 goals, yes 5 goals in one game. Having season tickets for the entire life of the North Star franchise and being a serious amateur hockey player myself in hockey crazed Minnesota, I have to say it was one of the most electrifying performances I ever saw. It made me a lifelong fan of
Don Murdoch...

Don Murdoch was a pure natural goal scoring talent, who moved on the ice in a stealthy, ghostly sort of way. Pouncing on opportunities with lightening fast quickness. Fun to watch and I attended or watched every game of his I had a chance too.
yeah, in that way he at times seemed to show flashes of Mike Bossy, but never really lived up to it.

wasn't there a bit of a party scene around the Rangers back in the day? Murdoch certainly wasn't the only one, wasn't that the time of "Manhattan Ronnie" Duguay & Ron Greschner hitting the legendary late 70s NY club scene?

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01-30-2014, 11:18 PM
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Uncle Rotter
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Here's his OT goal against Buffalo in 1978
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ofThW1j5Gk

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01-30-2014, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5goals1game View Post
Regarding Don Murdoch of New York Rangers, I was at the game vs. the Minnesota North Stars at the great old MET Center in which "Murder" Murdoch scored 5 goals, yes 5 goals in one game. Having season tickets for the entire life of the North Star franchise and being a serious amateur hockey player myself in hockey crazed Minnesota, I have to say it was one of the most electrifying performances I ever saw. It made me a lifelong fan of
Don Murdoch...

Don Murdoch was a pure natural goal scoring talent, who moved on the ice in a stealthy, ghostly sort of way. Pouncing on opportunities with lightening fast quickness. Fun to watch and I attended or watched every game of his I had a chance too.
That game was on Oct 12. He had 8 goals in his first 3 NHL games, 15 in his first 15

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01-30-2014, 11:33 PM
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Mact was sent to jail for a year and the nhl felt that was punishment enough.

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