Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Morrow to make his Olympics debut
By Richard Durrett
FRISCO -- Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow will play for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February.
He's the lone Dallas representative on the squad, which was announced Wednesday.
Morrow, 30, has never played in the Olympics and now gets to do so as a member of the host team. But he's played for his country in four world championships -- including the gold-medal winning 2004 team -- one World Cup and one world junior championship.
Morrow returned this season following surgery to repair a torn ACL, suffered on Nov. 20, 2008 against Chicago. He's tied for second on the team in goals with 13, six of those on the power play.
What he brings even more than skill is leadership and grit. Morrow has a reputation for going into the tough parts of the ice to fight for pucks, and he works hard to get to the front of the net and make life difficult for opposing goaltenders.
Morrow was named Stars captain before the 2006-07 season and has earned the respect of his teammates. He also has a knack for scoring goals at key moments, a trait that makes him valuable to Team Canada.
Morrow played in all 18 Stars playoff games in 2008, helping lead them to the Western Conference finals. He scored two overtime game-winners against San Jose in a memorable second-round playoff series. Morrow put in the series-clinching goal at 1:24 a.m. local time, in the fourth overtime of Game 6 at American Airlines Center.
A few other Stars players were up for consideration. Like Morrow, defenseman Stephane Robidas participated in the Team Canada orientation camp before the NHL season began. But with plenty of depth on the blue line, Robidas didn't quite make the cut.
Brad Richards, who leads the Stars with 44 points, was third among Canadian-born centers in points, behind Joe Thornton and Sidney Crosby. Thornton and Crosby made the squad, but Richards did not. At 22, forward James Neal was probably a little young. But he has put up some impressive numbers this season, leading the Stars in goals with 18. He's second among Canadian-born left wingers in points.
Team Canada plays its first Olympic game Feb. 16 against Norway.
Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.