Ryan Murphy said he was preparing for practice with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) when his coach, Steve Spott, said he needed to talk to him in his office.
"He said he had some bad news -- he told me I'd be missing the games this weekend," Murphy said today. "He played a little trick on me, but then he told me what was going on."
What was going on was that the Hurricanes were in need of a defenseman. Tim Gleason was on injured reserve, Joni Pitkanen not yet ready to return to the lineup and Jamie McBain now out with an upper-body injury that Canes coach Kirk Muller said today could keep McBain out a week or two.
Just like that, Murphy was an emergency callup and on his way from Ontario to Raleigh. Tonight, the former first-round draft pick will make his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets at PNC Arena.
"I've had some butterflies since I found out the news, but it's a good thing and I'm happy and I'm excited to play," Murphy said after today's morning skate at PNC Arena.
And his instructions from Muller and assistant coach Dave Lewis, who works with the defensemen?
"They just told me to play my own game," Murphy said. "To come out here and create some offense, play well defensively. They said it's a big shot for me. I just want to take advantage of this opportunity and hopefully all goes well.
"It's a win-win for me. I have nothing to lose. It's an emergency basis, obviously, so I'm going to come up here, soak it all in, get a couple of games in hopefully and at the end of the day if I'll be back in Kitchener I'll go back with a couple of games under my belt."
Murphy, the 12th overall pick by Carolina in 2011, will be paired with veteran Jay Harrison. The two played together in exhibition games before last season, so they do have a feel for each other's games.
"I'll give him the same advice given to me: take in all the sights and sounds and smells," Harrison said. "There's only one like this you'll ever get. Make sure you enjoy it.
"Obviously there's a job to do but that shouldn't take away from the uniqueness of the experience. Have fun. He's a great player and dynamite to play with. He obviously has the skill set and is more than capable of doing the job tonight."
Murphy, who wears No. 7, is 5-11 and said he now weighs 180 pounds. In 46 games for Kitchener this season, he has eight goals and 39 points.
"When you get injuries it's an opportunity for people," Muller said today. "He's a dynamic player and brings an element. It's a chance to come in and not only play but play in a big game.
"We said play off your instincts. He's offensive-minded, he has great vision. He can move the puck and likes to get involved."
The Aurora, Ont., native played for Canada in the 2012 World Junior Championship, notching a goal and two assists in six games.
Now, he'll get his first NHL game, and against a Canadian team.
"Growing up you always wonder what team you're going to play against and stuff like that," he said. "Now I know and I just have to get ready for the game."
Pitkanen practiced with the team Wednesday but was not at the morning skate. Muller said it's possible Pitkanen could return this weekend.