Phantoms head coach changed his first line up in the third period of Sunday's game against the Springfield Falcons, but it wasn't so much about what he saw out of his team as out of the opponent.
"I didn't like what happened there with the (Brayden) Schenn thing and the hitting on the back of the head on the cross check," Murray said. "That's why (Zac) Rinaldo was put there. He's got a presence. I just want to go with that right now, see how it looks in the practices."
Rinaldo is known for being something of a bruiser on the ice. In his previous time in the AHL, he barely seemed able to step onto the ice before being whistled for something or other.
"No one's going to touch my linemates. Everyone knows that. It's kinda just a respect factor," Rinaldo said.
If this line sticks, it will be a NHL line. Sean Couturier, Rinaldo and Schenn are the Phantoms with the most NHL experience, totaling 206 regular-season games and 29 playoff games. Couturier has played 77 games in the regular-season and 11 in the playoffs, Rinaldo played 66 regular-season games and 7 playoff games and Schenn has 63 regular-season games and 11 playoff games under his belt.
"It was a surprise," Rinaldo said of the mid-game change. "I got thrown on that line and as soon as I was out with that line it was like, oh, okay, this is back into a NHL experience. It just came back to me."
Rinaldo spent time on lines with each Couturier and Schenn, but the three of them have never been together. He felt like they came together pretty quickly and said it's a chance for him to work on his game.
"It helps me out in every different scenario that I need to work on on the ice. I just a shooter and a passer on my line. All the tools are on my line so I'm going to run with it," he said, adding that he's looking to be be more of an all-around player. "Just being a total package - hit, fight, score, shoot, pass. It's kinda worked out for me that it's a lockout so I can work on my things here instead of up there.
"Just give me an opportunity and I'll be able to show my skills."
That's exactly what this is an opportunity. With three NHLers on one line, the Phantoms have a chance to be pretty dangerous.