Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Morris leaves with mixed emotions
By Matt Kalman
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Furthering the notion that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli isn’t shy about handing out no-trade clauses, defenseman Derek Morris said he had been asked about waiving his four days before he was dealt to Phoenix for a fourth-round pick Wednesday.
Chiarelli has been hampered in his efforts to make moves by no-trade clauses he also gave to Michael Ryder, Marco Sturm and Tim Thomas. Morris, whose career trajectory had dropped a bit last season while skating for Phoenix and the New York Rangers, was signed in the offseason to a one-year, $3.3 million contract. He said he would waive it for only one team, the Coyotes.
“I’m really excited for Phoenix, obviously,” he said after departing Ristuccia Arena. “I think they have an amazing coach [Dave Tippett] there. A coaching staff … you’ve got three of the best coaches that I feel probably are in the game and that’s probably why those guys are winning.”
Reports say that Morris thought he had been traded over the weekend but then the deal was off. Morris wouldn’t confirm that, but he did say that Wednesday morning he thought he wasn’t going to be traded. He found out when he arrived at Ristuccia and Chiarelli called head coach Claude Julien’s office with the news.
Morris was brought in to be a puck-moving upgrade on Aaron Ward. In 58 games with Boston, Morris posted three goals and 25 points. But the Bruins have floundered after starting the year with Stanley Cup aspirations and are now battling just to stay among the conference’s top eight.
As Wednesday unfolded, Chiarelli -- who will address the media in an afternoon press conference -- obviously determined that Florida’s Dennis Seidenberg was an upgrade on Morris.
Morris was asked if he was stunned the Bruins asked him to waive his clause.
“You never say stunned, because I think we expect things like that to happen in the game,” said Morris. “Every day I went home, with the way the season’s went, and just wondered if it had been my fault or whatever. As a player, you have pride and think about things. … And then we got back in it and I was excited about the way things were going and I’m excited to go where I’ve got to go.”
Morris spent parts of five seasons with the Coyotes before he was traded to the Rangers at last year’s trade deadline. Teammate Keith Yandle is now living in his former house, so Morris said he’ll find a new place to live in Phoenix.
While he’s eager to get back in the thick of the playoff race with his former team, Morris said he leaves with a sour taste caused by the Bruins’ unmet expectations.
“It’s really disappointing. I met these guys in this room for the first time when I came in after I had signed, my first skate with them. You take to these guys. This is a good group of guys in here that really get along, really enjoy each and really like each other a lot. It was a fun locker room to come into. It’s a tough one to leave.”