VANCOUVER Brendan Morrison made the all-too-familiar walk through Rogers Arena on Monday afternoon. The newest Chicago Blackhawks forward, acquired from Calgary on Friday, spent eight seasons with the Canucks and is well aware of their game.
As far as this intense matchup between the Canucks and the Blackhawks, hell get a first-person account of that soon enough.
Morrison will be in the lineup, possibly on the second line, when the Blackhawks play the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Tuesday night. The veteran center said he feels good and is ready to go against his former team. And hes got a pretty good idea what kind of game its going to be.
Theyre very heated. Even as a fan those are fun games to watch. They have a pretty intense battle going, Morrison said. Theres nothing like jumping right into it tomorrow night. It should be a pretty good atmosphere.
Morrison did indeed center the second line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp in his first practice with the Blackhawks on Monday. Whether that stands for Tuesdays game Sharp is questionable for the game is uncertain. But no matter who Morrisons linemates are, coach Joel Quenneville said he wants the veteran to just play his game.
He doesnt have to do more than what hes always done: keep it simple and hell just grow with the group, he said. That line has the potential to really improve.
Morrison had some great years with the Canucks. He had career bests in goals (25), assists (46) and points (71) with them in 2002-03; he also put up his best postseason numbers that season, with 11 points in 14 games.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said parting with Morrison was tough.
I was a big fan of Brendan. He was a real piece of the foundation of this organization. Sometimes you have tough decisions to make and that was one of the tough ones we had, he said. I hope he does well, except for tomorrow night.
The game will certainly be intense. But Morrison will bring the calm demeanor and smart hockey sense hes had his entire career. And the thought of possibly playing with the likes of Hossa are appealing.
I dont know how much more help he needs; hes third in scoring in the league, Morrison said. But Ive been pretty lucky. Ive played with some high-end, talented guys. Ill just do what I do and try to get them the puck.
But the opportunity is there, and Morrisons ready for it. Hes done plenty in his career, save hoisting that Stanley Cup over his head. Now he has another shot at that.
I thought when I was here (in Vancouver) there was a good chance Id finish my career here. Since that time, who wouldve thought; the experiences Ive been able to have, Morrison said. As far as chances go this is as good a chance as Ive probably seen.