The Athletic’s Max Bultman asked Slovenian Olympic hockey forward Jan Mursak’s former Red Wings and Griffins teammates to weigh in on Mursak’s Olympic success (Mursak scored 2 goals as Slovenia upset Team USA 3-2 on Wednesday):
Mursak, 30, spent time between Grand Rapids and Detroit from 2007 to 2013 (though he spent the 2007-08 season in the OHL), including winning the Calder Cup with the Griffins in 2013. He was second on the team in both goals (11) and points (17) in those playoffs, behind only Tatar.
If Red Wings fans have foggy memories of Mursak, they could be forgiven. His NHL totals include just 46 games and two goals.
But that’s part of what makes his showing on Wednesday special. NHL players have made no bones about their desire to be playing in these Olympics, but with them back in North America, there’s more spotlight for someone like Mursak — now in the Swedish Hockey League — to shine on the world stage.
That’s not to say he wouldn’t have been on Team Slovenia regardless — he is one of two Slovenian-born players to play in the NHL — but the lack of traditional star power helped open the window for this sort of moment. Slovenia may not have been in position to even tie the U.S. with NHL inclusion.
“There’s positives either way,” said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, who coached Mursak in Grand Rapids. “You can debate what you prefer, and I get that, but … today’s a moment for Jan Mursak, who might not have got that moment.”