Before Brendan Morrison could even get off the ice, the Chicago Blackhawks were adding insult to his injury.
The Calgary Flames centre, who suffered a knee injury last Wednesday in a loss at Chicago, spoke for the first time Tuesday about the incident and said he was getting disrespected by Hawks on his way to the bench.
“I don’t know if they understand exactly what was going on,” Morrison said. “Some young guys were standing and yelling. I don’t think it was very professional. They will learn.
“It wasn’t easy getting off. I couldn’t put much weight on that leg. What I’ve always done is not stay down whenever I’ve been hurt.
“It’s not trying to be manly or prove that I’m tough. The play is going on and you have to get off the ice.”
Morrison’s knee injury may knock him out the rest of the season. It will take two to three weeks for the swelling to go down before they can reassess it and find out the extent of the damage.
The play seemed innocent enough.
Morrison played the puck behind the Hawks net and then was taken into the boards by blueliner Niklas Hjalmarsson on a clean play. He went down immediately but got up and limped off, passing the Chicago bench on his way out.
Watching the play on video, Patrick Kane and Michael Frolik can be seen standing and talking, while Patrick Sharp points and says something while sitting down.
Morrison wouldn’t say who the culprits were.
“I think if they said something, it’s really immature to say something when somebody’s hurt,” said Alex Tanguay, who was Morrison’s linemate before the injury.
“There’s a lot of time for the chirping on the ice, for the trash-talking, but I think when someone’s hurt, it’s time to be respectful.
“He didn’t know at the time what he had and we’re still not quite sure what the extent is of his injury.”
The Hawks are notorious for being mouthy on the ice. Two years ago in their first-round playoff meeting, the Hawks took the verbal war to the Flames.
Their berating of Jarome Iginla caused quite a stir.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise they could do something similar to Morrison, who is also a well-respected veteran around the league.
“That’s not very classy,” said Flames forward David Moss, who has slid up to the top line in Morrison’s spot.
“You never want see anyone get hurt in a game, especially a guy like Mo who has been around the league for a while. If he’s skating off injured and guys are chirping, that’s pretty classless.
“We’ve had good battles with them. We lost a playoff series to them a couple years ago. It’s a good rivalry.
“There’s nothing wrong with chirping on the ice, but when a guy is injured, there is not too many guys who would chirp him.”
Aside from the trash talk, Morrison is trying to remain positive throughout the rehab process. Strength and conditioning coach Rich Hesketh has a program designed to keep him in shape.
Still, it’s tough not being able to contribute to a playoff push.
“There is no point in moping or hanging your head,” Morrison said. “You can’t change what happened. You have to face what it is head on. You have to be positive around the guys and be as supportive as possible. We played well the last two games. It’s another big game (Wednesday) night.”