Morrison keeps his chin up

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Getting the hook in consecutive starts doesn't strengthen Mike Morrison's job security.

But at least for now, Morrison is still an Edmonton Oiler.

Of course, the next time head coach Craig MacTavish comes around the corner, he could be shipping Morrison out of town.

"I try not to think about it. I forced the issue to stay up longer than I thought would be possible," said Morrison, who still sports a 5-1 record and a respectable 2.35 goals-against average.

"Even when I was playing all those games in a row, it was something I knew could end tomorrow. I don't want to leave and I'm working my butt off to stay up. If I get another chance, I'll try to take advantage of it."

Morrison was red-hot in victories over Colorado, Calgary and Philadelphia, and then looked every bit the minor-leaguer when he was yanked against Calgary and Vancouver in his last two outings. In the last practice before the Oilers' Christmas break, Morrison had a long chat at centre ice with goaltending coach Pete Peeters.

"It's a matter of stepping back to where I was before," said Morrison. "I just have to get back to that point because when you over-complicate things, it can bite you. I have to be patient and stay within myself."

The three's-a-crowd theory in the Oilers' net has dragged on for two months.

Ty Conklin has won the last two games and Jussi Markkanen is bound to get between the pipes again soon. So just where does that leave Morrison?

"He's not out of the mix by any stretch," said MacTavish.

If Morrison is picked as the odd man out, the Oilers don't really have a suitable place to put him.

Unless they can loan him out to an American League team, Morrison would be saddled with a double-demotion all the way down to Greenville in the ECHL.

"It's unfortunate but he'd have to deal with it," said MacTavish. "If it does come to that, it can only help his mental toughness."


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