Robert Ronald Murphy (April 10, 1933 – March 6, 2014) was a professional ice hockey player who played for the New York Rangers, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins over the course of an 889-game NHL career.
He played the better part of 18 years between 1952 and 1970, most notably being on a line with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge which broke the league record for scoring by a forward line in the 1968–69 NHL season with 263 points (subsequently broken two years later by Esposito, Hodge and Wayne Cashman). That season represented a comeback year for Murphy, who had missed most of the preceding two seasons following multiple operations on a chronically bad shoulder, and he initially retired after that season. His health improving over the summer, he rejoined the Bruins for the beginning of the 1970 season, but recurrences of his chronic injuries reduced him to spot duty over 20 games, and he retired for good in March 1970.
Murphy's career was nearly cut short late in the second period of a New York Rangers' 3–1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on December 20, 1953. Then a 20-year-old left wing for the Rangers, he sustained a broken jaw and concussion after Boom Boom Geoffrion took a two-handed swing with his stick, which made contact with the left side of Murphy's face. Murphy was suspended for five games, but the injuries from the incident resulted in costing him the remainder of the season. Geoffrion was banned from all matches between the two teams for the rest of the campaign. The incident was recorded on black-and-white film which was used by Rangers coach Frank Boucher. The well-preserved footage was discovered in 2011 when MSG Media moved its film and videotape archive out of its arena while the building was undergoing renovations.
After his retirement he coached the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. He was with Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Black Hawks in 1961 and the Bruins in 1970.
Murphy died on March 6, 2014 at the age of 80.
By Dean Hanley
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