February 2, 2012
Morrison returns to say goodbye
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
Goodbyes are often impossible in the world of professional sports.
So after Brendan Morrison’s former and current clubs go head to head Friday night at the Saddledome, the NHL veteran will be happy to part ways in person this time.
Traded from the Calgary Flames to the Chicago Blackhawks during the all-star break, Morrison didn’t have to wait long for his return. After suiting up Tuesday for the Hawks in Vancouver and again Thursday in Edmonton, the date with the Flames will be just his third game in his new uniform.
“It’s always fun to play against your ex-teammates and your friends,” Morrison said Thursday in Edmonton before a clash with the Oilers. “It’s good that I get a chance to do that pretty early.
“I haven’t seen any of them. I haven’t seen anybody. I’ll see them for a little bit (Friday), then it’s time to move on.”
Moving on has been easy for the 36-year-old veteran.
It helps that he’s getting an opportunity to play with some elite wingers after his role with the Flames had diminished.
“I saw bits and pieces of the third period. He was playing with (Marian) Hossa and (Patrick) Sharp,” noted Flames winger Alex Tanguay, who watched a bit of Tuesday’s game against the Canucks.
“He’s getting his opportunity there, and I’m very happy for him.”
You won’t find a single member of the Flames organization, from the ushers to the players, who isn’t happy for Morrison.
He was universally liked and respected.
“I think he’s well-liked by everyone,” said defenceman Mark Giordano. “Easy to talk to, easy guy to get a long with. It was tough to see him go.”
“Such a good team guy,” adds captain Jarome Iginla. “He works with the young guys, he gets along with everybody. He’s always got something funny to say, and he’s always lifting guys up.”
It’s hard to feel sorry for Morrison considering where he landed, however.
The Blackhawks were sixth in the Western Conference before Thursday’s action, part of a pack of four teams within a single point of each other that is well ahead of the rest of the playoff challengers.
They’re considered a serious Stanley Cup contender. Believing they made their case even stronger with the addition of Morrison, the Hawks quickly went about proving they have faith in the veteran who pushed to come back from knee surgery after suffering a serious injury last March.
Playing the second-most minutes of his entire season during Tuesday’s game, Morrison can’t help but smile about his situation.
His former teammates are doing the same.
“We’re all very happy for him, not just to go there but they plan on playing him and (he’ll) be a big part of it,” Iginla said.
“He probably wasn’t in the role he wanted to be,” added Giordano. “I think it was a good move for him, and for our team as well.
“It’s gonna be a little bit weird I guess playing against an old teammate so quick. We’ll maybe get to see him after the game and say hello.”
“I hope it all works out for him,” said Tanguay.
“But not so much (Friday) night. We’re just hoping we win the game tomorrow, then we’ll say hi to him afterwards.”
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane