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Pop-Up Defenseman

Popupvideo Cory_murphyThe Panthers made their first move of the offseason on Monday, signing defenseman Cory Murphy to a two-year deal.

You mean the season is still going on? What the heck happened?

Anyway, here is the pop-up video version of Murphy's Life and Times in Hockey:

Cory Murphy is 29 and has played in Europe his entire professional career. His last stop was in Finland (two other Panthers, including captain Olli Jokinen are Finish).

Murphy is a native of Kanata, Ontario (which is where the Ottawa Senators play their home games and have their home office. Florida assistant GM Randy Sexton most recently worked for the Senators, and was headquartered in Kanata.

To take this a little bit further, both Sexton and Panthers coach/GM Jacques Martin -- known simply as JM -- both worked for the Senators. In Kanata. Got the Kanata part?

Good.

Also, the Panthers PA guy is named Bill Murphy. It is not known whether Bill and Cory Murphy are brothers, nor is it known whether Bill Murphy is from Kanata. Don't even know if either like drinking Murphy's Irish Stout while visiting Kanata.)


OK, back to Mad Guitar, err, Cory Murphy:

A graduate of Colgate, Murphy played in the Swiss League last year (2005-06). Current Florida forward Ville Peltonen played in the same Swiss league last year and spent three seasons playing in Switzerland. His children are fluent in Italian. Switzerland is known for its timepieces, decadent chocolate treats and fancy pocket knives no one seems to have when they are stuck in the wilderness or really, really, need a bottle opener.

Anyway, seems like a lot of people around the Panthers know Murphy -- and really like him. Florida signed him to a two-year deal and expect him to be one of its top 6 d-men next year.

That's bad news for Alexei Semenov, Steve Montador and the injured Branislav Mezei. Four d-men, assuming no one gets traded, are set for next year: Jay Bo, Bryan Allen, Mike Van Ryn and Ruslan Salei.

Newly acquired Noah Welch (picked up in the Gary Roberts trade) is in the thick of this mix, so toss in Murphy and Mez and you're talking seven guys. We'll have to wait and see how this shakes out, but it appears Murph the Surf (his new, and completely official, Miami Herald nickname) has a one-way deal. As we all know -- as does Semenov -- that gives him a leg up in getting a roster spot coming out of camp.

Murphy has never played in the NHL before. He went to Finland out of college in 2001 and has been in Europe ever since. He was MVP of the Finnish league this year after leading HIFK Helsinki with 13 goals with 37 assists. In 1998, Panther captain Olli Jokinen and current Devils star Bryan Rafalski teamed up to lead HIFK Helsinki to a league championship.

That's probably all the info you need right now.

Except this: There are two professional hockey players who share the tag Cory Murphy. The first Cory Murphy was born on Oct. 22, 1976  in beautiful Perth, Ontario (probably close to Kanata) and started his pro career in 1993 with the OHL Ottawa (definitely near Kanata) 67s. According to hockeydb.com, the other Cory is playing in Fresno (not near Kanata) of the ECHL this season.

So there are two Cory's. Who knew?

Coreys

Those of you who just laughed at the last line (and the photo), you're welcome. Made it worth wading through the other junk, eh?

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