VANCOUVER -- He may or may not be the answer as the second-line center for the Chicago Blackhawks, but newly acquired forward Brendan Morrison is going to get first crack at it.
Morrison lined up between Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp during practice Monday evening in Vancouver and summed up the idea of playing with the two stars with one word.
“Fun,” he declared after practice. “Two highly skilled players. Very talented. Great offensive instincts. Hopefully we can develop some chemistry.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says he’s not worried about Morrison’s 36-year-old legs keeping up with Hossa and Sharp. He just wants him to be himself.
“He adds a real nice dimension in the middle,” Quenneville said. “Be it faceoffs and experience. He can make plays and see plays. Playing with Hossa and anyone else could be the makings of something special.”
One thing no one can question is Morrison’s leadership and work ethic. Everyone associated with his new team or his old one – Vancouver -- raved about his integrity as a player.
“I was a big fan of Brendan,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “The knowledge of the game, the way he prepares was a great example for our group. He was a real piece of the foundation of this organization for a long time.”
Morrison’s new captain echoed the same.
“He’s always been known as a hard-working player,” Jonathan Toews said. “One of those character guys on the ice. For a guy that plays both ways in the middle, it’s going to be a huge help for our team.”
The new lines
With the addition of Morrison on the second line, Quenneville elected to move Marcus Kruger to wing and play him with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw. Jamal Mayers remained at center with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Brunette on the fourth line.
Quenneville likes Kruger’s defense and this places him in a more prominent role playing beside Bolland. If Morrison doesn’t work out with Hossa and Sharp, then expect Kruger to return to that position.