ANAHEIM -- Last night's clash was the first time Brendan Morrison and Todd Bertuzzi had the chance to touch base.
That didn't prevent Morrison from being aware how his old West Coast Express linemate had been doing with the Flames.
"Oh, I know how many goals he has," Morrison said. "I know he's right up there among the league leaders."
It's been a few years now since Bertuzzi, Morrison and Markus Naslund combined to be one of the NHL's most formidable trios, racking up 119 goals and 272 points for Vancouver in the 2002-03 season.
They've all since relocated -- Naslund with the New York Rangers, Bertuzzi in Calgary and Morrison with the Anaheim Ducks. But they are keeping a close eye on each other.
Bertuzzi's strong start --seven goals and two assists -- after last night's meeting with Morrison's Ducks, wasn't lost on his old Canucks teammate.
"I'm happy for him. He's been through a lot the last few years," said Morrison, referring to more than just the infamous Steve Moore incident. "When you're an offensive player and don't end up with the points, it starts to wear on you. You can get down on yourself."
Until seeing each other yesterday, the pair had only kept track via text messages, but Morrison has a good read on Bertuzzi.
"It seems to me he's very happy with the team and with the way he's been embraced by the fans. He's happy, and it's showing when he goes out there and plays," Morrison said. "It's funny, but he's been offering me words of encouragement."
Morrison departed Vancouver after seven-plus seasons. A product of the Lower Mainland city Pitt Meadows, he no longer fit into the Canucks plans and inked a one-year, US$2.75-million contract with the Ducks.
"Vancouver is where we'll be after I'm done, but this was an easy decision to make," he said. "I had so many other places I could have gone, but this is where I wanted to be."
Unfortunately, the offensive production hasn't arrived yet.
Morrison has one assist in the first 13 games.
"It's been very tough. I could say it's my knee (after surgery in the summer) but it feels strong," Morrison said. "There just doesn't seem to be that jump, though. I know where I want to be and what I want to do, but I'm not doing it. I expect more of myself."