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 didn’t 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 you’re coming back into town or when you play them, so I knew.”

This is the day he’s been waiting for.

Wednesday’s Northwest Division dust-up at the Saddledome (7:30 p.m., TSN, Fan960) will mark Morrison’s 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 he’d 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 didn’t 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. I’m still a little surprised it didn’t work out there, but it’s over and done with and I’ve moved on.

“It’s worked out for me because I signed here in Calgary.”

It’s 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, don’t tell the entire story. Morrison has done just about everything but strap on the pads and serve as a backup to Miikka Kiprusoff.

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

“I think that’s one of the reasons why Calgary was interested — because of my versatility,” Morrison said. “I’ve played centre my whole career, but pretty much this season I’ve played the wing the whole time and I’m 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 don’t feel uncomfortable in any situations.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


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