Received an interesting email over the weekend about's grandfather that helps flesh out how our Swedish defenseman grew into his style of play.
Lars Bjorn was a hulking Swedish defenseman in the 1950s and 1960s. He was nicknamed "Lasse," Swedish for "menace," because he was never afraid to impose his physicality upon his opponent. He was fearless of any opponent, including the aggressive Canadians
Bjorn and defensive partner Roland Stotlz dominated the Swedish Elite League with Djurgarden for the better part of both decades, leading the team to 9 Swedish championships.
Murray is the most physical defenseman San Jose has had since Bryan Marchment, and it's no surprise that he is able to trace those ideals back to his grandfather. There has been countless times over the last four seasons where someone has tried to take a run at him in open ice only to end up with an excellent view of the rafters-- you'd be hard pressed to find a specific player who has knocked him off his skates twice throughout his career. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find five different players who have done it once. And it looks like his grandfather played hockey the exact same way.
"Lasse" is currently 77 years old and was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1998. It would be interesting to see if Murray trained with his grandfather, or still talks to him about the finer points of the game-- something tells me there's a good chance this is the case considering the circumstances, and with Nicklas Lidstrom backing Murray's inclusion onto the Swedish roster for the upcoming Olympic games, hopefully Lars can give him a few pointers about the particulars of international play. Not that he's unfamiliar with the territory.
The full piece by Mr. Pelletier goes into more depth on Lars Bjorn, along with a great story about the time he had to sing the Swedish national anthem. Another family tie-in, this time with with Douglas' Uber Tap investment?
We're not ruling it out.