Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
Posted: 11:03 a.m.
By Tracey Myers
Jeremy Morin sat at his stall following the Blackhawks' victory over the Blues on Tuesday night, the stitches across his bruised nose earned in a late fight with someone he apparently scrapped with in the minors earlier this season.
Be it the brawl, his energy, his hits or his odd-but-effective pass that hit glass, bounced funny and turned into his first NHL point ("I'll take it and it wasn't what I drew up, that's for sure," he said), Morin was making the most of his third NHL game.
"I think he's trying to make a name for himself and stick here for a bit," said Patrick Kane.
Yes, he is. And yes, he should.
Morin was called up when Marian Hossa went down with a lower-body injury at Monday's practice. He's not here to replace Hossa. Not many can do that. But bring energy? Enthusiasm? A little grit? He can do that. And because he's doing that, he deserves to stay a little while.
Hey, we know Hossa's out for a bit, likely 2-3 weeks as coach Joel Quenneville told us all Tuesday morning. And on Saturday night in Los Angeles, general manager Stan Bowman said the salary cap was not a problem in bringing players up from Rockford.
"We can bring a guy up tomorrow if we want to," he said. "It's not a salary cap issue."
Bowman said that when the Blackhawks were healthy the lines were rolling and there was no need to bring up another body. Now they're ailing again and they could use Morin. Tomas Kopecky said Morin's outing on Tuesday was "huge."
"He was involved and he was unafraid," Kopecky said. "Even the first goal when I scored, he made the great play in the offensive zone with a big hit there. The second goal -- maybe you don't see those little things, but it was all his work along the boards -- he caught that pass and got it to (Patrick Sharp) and he scored. I like the way he played."
Morin said Tuesday morning that playing for the Rockford IceHogs has helped him prepare for the faster pro game. Neither that, nor his first call-up, however, helped him quell the butterflies entering Tuesday.
"I think I definitely had some nerves," he said. "I come here and I'm expected to perform. I just try to take a different approach, get some hits early and that kind of loosens me up a bit."
The 19-year-old Morin was oh-so close to making this Blackhawks roster out of training camp. He earned respect there. He earned more in his first call-up earlier this month in Atlanta when he blocked a shot off the back of his knee, curled up for a few moments on the ice, then tried to play again a few minutes later.
On Tuesday, he added a few more respect-earning moments. Morin was everywhere on Tuesday, landing a big hit here, logging some power-play minutes there and adding plenty of zip.
His teammates have noticed it all.
"He's done some crazy things since he's been in our lineup," Jonathan Toews said. "That shot block he came up with in Atlanta, everybody on the bench was in pain when we saw him take that puck to the back of the leg. It was surprising to see him go after the guy he did (St. Louis' Chris Porter on Tuesday). It's fun to see that. As long as he doesn't get hurt, it gives our team the energy."
He gave them plenty on Tuesday. So at least let him stay while Hossa's sidelined. He's earned it.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.