He's back on bench

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

It turns out Mike Morrison's long travel day back from the minors Sunday was to sit on the bench, not to crouch between the pipes when the puck dropped against the Buffalo Sabres last night.

When the Edmonton Oilers summoned Morrison from his conditioning stint in Greenville a day or so earlier than he expected, many assumed he'd get the start against the Sabres at Rexall Place. Not so fast.

Coach Craig MacTavish gave Jussi Markkanen the tap on the shoulder and dressed Morrison as his back-up.

"I just feel more comfortable with him in this situation," MacTavish said of his decision to start the Finn. "Jussi hasn't started a lot of home games in the last number of games. I fully expect him to play well."

Morrison, 26, who went 6-1-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .930 saves-percentage in seven ECHL games, made his way back to Edmonton Sunday morning after next-to-no sleep Saturday night. He was on the ice at the morning skate, but on the bench for the opening face-off.

"It was good to get into some game situations and work on some things," said Morrison, whose last appearance for the Oilers was Dec. 19.

"It gave me a chance to go down there and focus on some things."

MacTavish suggested Morrison will see action soon, perhaps as early as Thursday in San Jose, but was non-committal beyond that.

"I didn't assume anything," Morrison said, asked if he expected to start last night.

"I assumed I'd wake up today and practice. That's the only thing I assumed."


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