Lawrence Thomas Murphy (born March 8, 1961) is a former Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman. He currently serves as an analyst and sideline reporter for the Detroit Red Wings on Fox Sports Detroit, and a studio analyst on NHL Network.
After a stellar junior career with the Peterborough Petes and representing Canada at the 1980 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Murphy was drafted 4th overall in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. In the 1980–81 NHL season, he set National Hockey League records for most assists and points by a rookie defenceman, with 60 and 76 respectively. He was eventually traded to the Washington Capitals for defencemen Brian Engblom and Ken Houston early in the 1983-84 season, which did not work out in the Kings favor long-term because of Murphy’s prolonged success in the league.
In his 21-season career (1980–2001), Murphy would eventually play for six different NHL teams. In addition to the Kings and Capitals, he also suited up for theMinnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings.
In 1995 after being named to the second-team All-Stars Murphy was traded to his hometown Leafs from the Penguins for Dmitri Mironov and a second round pick. Leafs fans booed Murphy, the highest paid player on the Leafs, mercilessly as a scapegoat for the lack of success the team was having. He was traded to Detroit for future considerations, and was an integral part of their two consecutive Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. In the 1997–98 NHL Playoffs, he tiedPaul Coffey‘s record for most shorthanded goals scored by a defenceman in the playoffs with 2.
When Murphy retired after the 2000–01 NHL season, his 1615 regular season games played stood as a record for the most career games by a defenceman; a mark previously held by Tim Horton. In 2003–04, Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils surpassed this mark, finishing the season with 1635 games played.
He was on four Stanley Cup winning teams during the decade of the 1990s, the only NHL player to accomplish this feat. He was a part of the only 2 NHL teams to win back-to-back titles during the decade, the Penguins in 1991 and 1992 and the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.
In 1987, Murphy was a key member of Canada‘s championship team in the Canada Cup. His six assists tied teammate Ray Bourque for tops in the tournament among defencemen, which included Mario Lemieux‘s overtime goal in game 2 of the Final against the Soviet Union. He then scored a goal and two assists in the decisive third game, and was also used as a decoy by Wayne Gretzky on Lemieux’s tournament winner.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. Finishing his career with 1216 points, Murphy is currently the fifth highest scoring defenceman in NHL history, behind Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis and Phil Housley.
One of Murphy’s most notable successes was the “Murphy Dump”. During his stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins Murphy would often dump the puck down the ice by lifting it high over the opposing team so that it eventually stops before the opposing goal line. This would not only clear the zone safely, but would not result in an icing call. The “Murphy Dump” was officially coined by Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange.
Murphy is currently an alternate color analyst for the Detroit Red Wings on Fox Sports Detroit. He only does color commentator duties for Red Wings west coast road trips in place of Mickey Redmond, from 2003-2006 Murphy shared this duty with former teammate Pat Verbeek where they would alternate road trips. However following the 2005–06 NHL season, Verbeek left the job as broadcaster to become a scout for the Red Wings and Murphy took over full time on west coast road trips. In addition in 2006, Murphy contributes as a studio analyst on pregames, post games and intermissions in which he does not broadcast. In the 2007-08 season, Murphy began serving as a “Between the Benches” reporter for Fox Sports Detroit when Mickey Redmond was broadcasting, and subbed for Redmond when he had surgery to remove a tumor on his lung. He also makes occasional appearances on the NHL Network’s nightly hockey highlight show, NHL on the Fly.
Awards and achievements
- 1980, OHL First All-Star Team
- 1987, Norris Trophy second runner-up
- 1987, NHL Second All-Star Team
- 1991, Stanley Cup Champion (Pittsburgh Penguins)
- 1992, Stanley Cup Champion (Pittsburgh Penguins)
- 1993, Norris Trophy second runner-up
- 1993, NHL Second All-Star Team
- 1994, Played in NHL All-Star Game (Eastern Conference)
- 1995, NHL Second All-Star Team
- 1996, Played in NHL All-Star Game (Western Conference)
- 1997, Stanley Cup Champion (Detroit Red Wings)
- 1998, Stanley Cup Champion (Detroit Red Wings)
- 1999, Played in NHL All-Star Game (Western Conference)