SUN Hockey Pool

Flames' Morrison itchin' to face Canucks

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:24 PM ET

In less than 24 hours, Brendan Morrison had found a new hockey home.

It didnt take much longer for the Calgary Flames forward to find a calendar and make a mental note of his first clash with the Vancouver Canucks.

I was aware of it quite early, Morrison said with a grin. The first couple days were a whirlwind. I signed in the morning at 10 a.m. and I think I was on a flight at 4 p.m., so it was pretty hectic getting out, but you check the calendar right away. You want to know when youre coming back into town or when you play them, so I knew.

This is the day hes been waiting for.

Wednesdays Northwest Division dust-up at the Saddledome (7:30 p.m., TSN, Fan960) will mark Morrisons first meeting with the Canucks since he was released from a training camp tryout with the West Coast squad in early October.

Morrison spent eight seasons with the Canucks before brief stints in Anaheim, Dallas and Washington. After failing to find guaranteed work on the free-agent market this summer, the 35-year-old accepted an audition with the Canucks and figured hed score a job, but he balked at a two-way contract offer after training camp and instead signed a deal with the injury-depleted Flames.

Although he insists there are no hard feelings, Morrison will be rarin to go against his former team.

I went to camp there this year and they didnt feel I was good enough to make their team, so you want to prove you can still play, he said. But at the end of the day, going to camp gave me an opportunity to sign in Calgary. Im still a little surprised it didnt work out there, but its over and done with and Ive moved on.

Its worked out for me because I signed here in Calgary.

Its been a bonus for the Flames, too.

Although Morrison is stuck in a six-game scoring slump, he still sits fourth on the squad with four goals and 11 assists in two dozen outings.

The stats, though, dont tell the entire story. Morrison has done just about everything but strap on the pads and serve as a backup to Miikka Kiprusoff.

Hes played up the middle and patrolled the wings. Hes quarterbacked the powerplay. In last weeks 3-2 shootout victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia, he won a crucial faceoff in the dying seconds of regulation time.

I think thats one of the reasons why Calgary was interested because of my versatility, Morrison said. Ive played centre my whole career, but pretty much this season Ive played the wing the whole time and Im comfortable there. I can kill penalties. I can play on the powerplay. So I think having that versatility helps me and helps the team in certain situations because I dont feel uncomfortable in any situations.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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