SUN Hockey Pool

Morrison will be missed in Flames locker room

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:58 AM ET

CALGARY - In the big picture, it’s a small deal.

Rarely, though, does an athlete make the kind of impact in less than 100 appearances with a team as Brendan Morrison did with the Calgary Flames.

Not so much on the ice, where the 36-year-old played 94 games in the Flaming C uniform — interrupted by a serious knee injury suffered last March that contributed to his struggles this season.

But in the locker-room, he was a key character both to his teammates who could count on him keeping his head during the ups and downs of a season, and members of the media who visited his stall daily for a dose of honesty, insight or casual conversation.

His class endeared him to the fans, who quickly forgot he was once a member of the hated Vancouver Canucks.

Morrison hasn’t seen the Twitter response to Friday’s trade that sent him to the Chicago Blackhawks but has heard about all the support for him second-hand.

“You never really, I guess, fully comprehend it until you actually move on,” he said of the impact he had on the fans in Calgary. “I’ve had some friends going, ‘Twitter’s going crazy.’

“To be able to have a positive impact on people, I think that’s a good thing. I’ve always tried to treat others the way I like to be treated and be respectful. It’s just how I was brought up and raised.”

For the Flames, sending the veteran centre to the Blackhawks for 25-year-old defenceman Brian Connelly does very little in terms of affecting their own present. It’s created a much brighter one for Morrison, though.

“I don’t think I could have picked a better team to go to. In my opinion, they’ve got as good a chance as anybody team to win,” he said.

“I’m nervous. I’m excited. All these kind of emotions rolled up. It’s good to get into these things right away.”

With four goals and 11 points in 28 games this season after pressing to come back from his ACL surgery a little too quickly in the fall, Morrison hasn’t been able to live up to his impressive debut season with the Flames, which saw him post nine goals and 43 points in 66 games before the knee injury in March during a game against the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Morrison would love to prove he can still contribute offensively.

He’ll get a chance to show the Flames first-hand Friday when he comes back to the Saddledome with his new Blackhawks teammates.

“There’s no bitterness on my end. It’s just kind of the evolution of the game. But on the other hand, for sure, I still believe I can play at a pretty high level and contribute on a nightly basis,” Morrison said. “It looks like I’m gonna get an opportunity to do that.”

Regardless of what happens on the ice, you can guarantee he’ll be visited by his former teammates who didn’t get to wish him luck in person, and every member of the media he connected with during his time in the city.


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