Blackhawks acquire Flames veteran center Brendan Morrison
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org January 27, 2012 11:34PM
Brendan Morrison could find a home centering the second line. | Jeff McIntosh~AP
the morrison file
Position: Center Ht./Wt.: 5-11/176 Age: 36
Statistics G A Pts +/-
’11-’12 Flames 4 7 11 -1
Career (14 yrs.) 200 401 601 90
Updated: February 29, 2012 8:08AM
OTTAWA, Ontario — The last time center Brendan Morrison was in the headlines with the Blackhawks he was accusing them of taunting him while he slowly came off the ice with an injured knee. Now he’s the newest member of the Hawks.
On Friday, the Hawks traded 25-year-old defenseman Brian Connelly, an All-Star for the Rockford IceHogs, to the Calgary Flames in exchange for the 36-year-old veteran.
“To me, it’s a dead issue,” Morrison said of the taunting. “You turn the page from that. There’s no issues with that at all moving forward. It’s a done deal.”
By adding Morrison, general manager Stan Bowman has been able to add needed depth at center. Morrison figures to get a chance to prove that he’s the short-term answer to the Hawks’ second-line center conundrum by playing with winger Marian Hossa. But using Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp in that spot also remain viable options.
Bowman made sure to point out that Morrison has had success with high-caliber wingers, notably All-Star Jarome Iginla. Morrison, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, has 200 goals and 601 points in 923 regular-season games. He has 11 points in 28 games this year.
“It’s nice to know that he’s got the ability to do that,” said Bowman, who said he’s been talking to Flames GM Jay Feaster for a while. “I like what he brings to our group. I speak very highly of his character as well.”
Morrison said he’ll play anywhere, but thinks he works well with top players.
“I have played with some pretty high-end wingers before and found some success,” Morrison said. “I still like to think I’m a guy who can contribute in that matter and be counted on a nightly basis to help supplement what Chicago has as far as offense goes.”
There are concerns, though. At 36, Morrison doesn’t skate as well he used to and he has an injury history. In the game he was chirped at by the Hawks on March 2, he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament when he was hit by defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Morrison underwent surgery in April, but signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Flames in the summer. He returned this season, only to be put on injured reserve to further rehab his knee.
“I forced myself back into action sooner than I anticipated,” said Morrison, who tore his right ACL in 2008. “I don’t think there were any issues as far as reinjuring the knee. I needed more time on some explosiveness. I know it’s fine. I’ve been playing the past two months with it. It’s strong; it’s solid. Skating is getting back to where it’s always been.”
Bowman is still in pursuit of a defenseman, but didn’t rule out adding another forward. The best part about the Morrison trade is that Bowman added a much-needed center while only giving up Connelly, who didn’t really figure into the team’s future plans.
“[Morrison has] got a long pedigree of being an offensive performer,” Bowman said. “I still think he’s got a lot left to add to our group.”