CALGARY – Ryan Murphy didn't hold back when asked what he was feeling on the eve of Team Canada's world junior selection camp.
"I've never been so nervous," the Kitchener Rangers defenceman said shortly after landing in Calgary on Monday. "I'm excited, but I'm really nervous."
That's a strong statement when you consider the following: Murphy has played in 43 OHL playoff games over the last three seasons. He was drafted 12th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2011. And he wore the Maple Leaf at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in 2011 when Canada lost in the semi-finals to the United States in overtime.
So, does anything compare to what he's feeling now?
"Probably my first exhibition game with the Hurricanes," Murphy said after thinking for a few moments. "I felt pretty nervous then, but I think even this surpasses that."
And, believe it or not, Murphy is glad he feels this way.
"I think it's a good thing. It builds you up. It gives you an adrenaline rush. I don't think it's a bad thing going into the games."
Murphy, known as an offensive defenceman, was cut last year after trying to change his style of play during the selection camp. Last year's coach, Don Hay was defence-oriented and Murphy wanted to show he wasn't a liability in his own end. The Aurora, Ont. native has since admitted that was a mistake.
"I just want to play my own game and can't wait to get out there for the first shift and get that over with," he said. "There's been a lot of buildup, I've been waiting for it for a while. This is my third attempt now and hopefully this year I won't get that call.
"It's now or never."