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Murray: forward thinking

Bruin believes he can improve

WILMINGTON -- Bruins forward Glen Murray is not one to sit back because he's coming off a season in which he set career highs for both goals and assists.

Murray, who is getting ready to enter his 13th year in the NHL, understands that just because he finished last season with 44 goals (a team high and fifth in the NHL) and 48 assists, it's not what you've done in the past that matters once you tie on the skates for another season, but it's what you've done lately.

"It's a new year, everyone starts over from the beginning," he said after yesterday morning's practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. "You've just got to go through training camp and get into game shape and get ready for the season because it's a long year."

Murray is one of about a dozen veterans back from a team that surprised many people last season when it got off to such a quick start but disappointed a lot of people when it stalled down the stretch and barely qualified for the playoffs.

Along the way, coach Robbie Ftorek was shown the door by general manager Mike O'Connell, who took the reins in the final weeks of the season but couldn't do any better as the Bruins lost in the first round to the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils in five games.

Now, however, Murray is back in Boston with renewed hope that he can continue to put up big numbers while helping a young Bruins team get back on track.

"The beginning of the year obviously we had a good start; we were getting every break, scoring with a couple seconds left in the game and you don't get those breaks all year long," said Murray, whose 92 points were seventh in the NHL. "We weren't as good as our record, 19-5 or whatever it was, but we weren't as bad as we were at the end of the season.

"We were a team somewhere in between there. It was just too bad that some bad things happened at the end of the year and in the playoffs. Hopefully we can kind of keep a consistency level there."

Murray, who was acquired by the Bruins two years ago in the trade that sent Jason Allison to the Los Angeles Kings, was upbeat yesterday before heading outside to sign autographs for the large number of fans who came to watch the Bruins practice.

"We have a few young guys here and we probably have 10 or 12 veterans that have been around for a long time," he said. "We all know our role of keeping the guys together. Not too high, not too low."

Earlier in the week, coach Mike Sullivan talked about the team creating a new identity this season. Murray believes it will be based on physical play and mental toughness, two things that were a staple of Bruins teams in the past.

"We want to get back to knowing that every game we are going to play hard and no team is going to come in to our building and get an easy two points," he said.

Murray skated alongside newly signed Sergei Samsonov yesterday. Absent from the group was captain Joe Thornton, who has missed the last two days of practice because of an infected cut on his forehead but who, according to Sullivan, is expected back sometime in the next couple of days.

While Sullivan said it was too early to set any lines in stone, it would be hard for the new coach to not put Murray, Samsonov, and Thornton out there together, considering the way they played before Samsonov went out for most of the season with a wrist injury.

"Whatever they want, it's up to the coaches," Murray said. "We'll play it by ear and see what they want."

Murray is just happy getting back in the swing of things on the ice and getting ready for the start of the regular season.

"We're looking forward to getting it started and getting the team together," he said. "It's a little ways away, but we're getting there."

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