Morrison seeks Disney ending with Anaheim
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Originally published in Eishockey News in 2008
By Lucas Aykroyd
Leaving Vancouver wasn’t easy for Brendan Morrison. Not only did the smart 33-year-old centerman spend eight productive seasons with the Canucks, but he’s also a native Vancouver son. So when he returned to GM Place for the first time as a member of the Anaheim Ducks in a 4-3 OT win over the Canucks on October 5, it was a strange feeling.
“I walked past the Canucks locker room instead of going in, and that was a really weird feeling,” Morrison told Eishockey News. “I felt like I wasn’t really in the game mentally. But I’m glad it’s over. It wasn’t a huge deal. Lots of guys have to go through it.”
When Morrison scored the game’s first goal, he heard a smattering of boos. He’ll happily take the abuse from opposing fans if he can rediscover his offensive game.
The 84-kg, 180-cm veteran was limited to nine goals and 16 assists in 39 games last year due to a wrist injury and a torn ACL. But Anaheim GM Brian Burke still gave Morrison a one-year, $2.75-million free agent deal on July, hoping he’ll rebound to the 50-point plateau he’s attained in six previous NHL seasons.
Morrison is expected to center a line with rookie forward Bobby Ryan, the #2 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, and Teemu Selanne, the legendary “Finnish Flash” who inked a two-year deal with the Ducks in late September.
“It’s a good fit,” Morrison said. “I really like my linemates. There’s still room for improvement, but I think we’re starting to click as time goes by.”
Whether you’re talking about Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry or Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger, just about every key player from the 2007 Stanley Cup team is still with the Ducks. And that’s got Morrison excited.
“The main reason I came to Anaheim is that I believe they have a team that can win the Cup this year,” said Morrison. “We’ve got a lot of depth. When you look around the room, you know that if everyone in here plays to his potential, we can win. It’s not like we have to add one or two pieces.”
Meanwhile, Vancouver fans are adjusting to life without any members of the famous “West Coast Express” line that dominated the NHL offensively early in the millennium. Morrison had great chemistry with wingers Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, and his personal production peaked at 71 points in 2002-03. But this year, Naslund will suit up for the New York Rangers, and Bertuzzi has joined Vancouver’s divisional rivals from Calgary.
“I talked to Nazzy a bit during training camp, and I talked to Bert when he signed in Calgary,” said Morrison. “Bert’s already been with a few different teams since he left [Florida, Detroit, Anaheim], but for Nazzy, like me, it’s a fresh start. It kind of revitalizes you and gets you excited.”
Thinking closer to home, Morrison is pleased about how joining a new organization has affected his wife Erin and his three kids, Brayden, Makenna, and Kailyn.
“Family-wise, the kids have really enjoyed the transition to Anaheim,” said Morrison. “That’s the biggest concern when you do make a move: how is your family going to enjoy it? If they’re not having a good time, you can struggle mentally. But they love it. That’s been very positive.”
The traditional cry of the North American pro athlete after winning a championship is “I’m going to Disneyland!” Morrison will hope to take his family there with the Stanley Cup in tow this spring