Jeremy Morin said he didn’t know if he was in the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup to start the postseason. The white-with-red-trim sweater he wore during Tuesday’s practice, however, gave it away.
That sweater has been deemed the “fifth-line” sweater, and he, Peter Regin and Joakim Nordstrom each donned that color on Tuesday. Morin was one of those bubble players entering the playoffs, a late-season call-up who gave the Blackhawks an energy boost and several key goals down the stretch. But as of Tuesday, it looks like he’ll be on the outside looking in for Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues.
Morin took it all in stride.
“I don’t know if I’ll be in. But if I get called, hopefully I’ll be ready to play and make the most of the opportunity,” he said. “I’m excited to be here and be a part of it.”
Asked about how difficult the decision was to keep Morin out of the top four lines, at least to start, coach Joel Quenneville said, “I think Mo, at the end of the year, he gave us some energy. He scored some big goals for us down the road. We’ll see how that all works out.”
In other words, don’t be surprised if Morin gets into the lineup at some point during the playoffs. Hey, things happen throughout a season, and that extends to the postseason, too. Some players underperform, prompting their healthy scratch and another’s insertion into the lineup. Sometimes guys get hurt and healthy bodies are brought in to replace them. What did Tuesday’s line combinations mean? They mean those are the likely combos to start the series; that’s it.
So Morin will wait and watch. He certainly upped his value at the end of the regular season, when he scored four goals over his last five games, and he feels good about what he did.
“I feel more comfortable with my game the last five games,” he said. “I’ve done some things I haven’t been able to do in this league before.”
Morin has the right attitude about the whole thing, and he played the right way down the stretch. This is the good and bad about playing for a deep team: sometimes, there aren’t enough spots available. But that could change; it wouldn’t be the first time. And Morin will be ready if and when it does.
“I’ve been around the team for four years now, up and down, and I understand the guys they have in the room and the talent level they have here,” Morin said. “Getting into the lineup is one thing; if they call my name I’ll be ready. I just try to soak it all in, pick up things. I’ve never experienced the playoffs as a pro and I’m looking forward to being here.”