If there was a city he could pick to make his debut with his new team, it’s very likely that Brendan Morrison would pick Vancouver.
The native of Pitt Meadows, British Colombia, and former Canuck, made his debut with the Blackhawks on Tuesday night, in their 3-2 overtime loss.
There were plenty of positives to pull from the loss, like the Hawks’ overall play and that of Corey Crawford, as well as the obvious negatives (defense). But with Morrison being the new guy, there were plenty of eyes on him throughout.
Morrison was acquired over All Star weekend by Stan Bowman, in exchange for Rockford defenseman Brian Connelly. It’s likely the only move the Blackhawks will make for a forward, as I’d expect them to shift most of their focus to the blue line ahead of this month’s trade deadline.
The trade was seen as underwhelming, given the uncertainty over whether or not Morrison can keep up on the Hawks’ second line. But that’s where he lined up against the Canucks on Tuesday, between the returning Patrick Sharp and All Star Marian Hossa.
For the most part, Morrison wasn’t too noticeable. He won just 31 percent of his draws and recorded one shot, while falling just a few seconds short of 19 minutes for the game.
That one shot was very noticeable though, when Cory Schneider made one of his many stellar saves for the night, though Morrison could have simply elevated the puck to grab his first Hawks tally. But lack of elevation was the story of the night for the Blackhawks.
I think some of Morrison’s quiet play simply related to it being his first game with the Hawks, as well as the fact that he was playing in a city that he called home for quite some time. Once he adapts to his new linemates, who are two of the best players in the game, he should be just fine.
If not, look for Dave Bolland to slide into the middle on that second line. Morrison will likely see time on other lines regardless.
Either way, I like the Hawks’ move for Morrison. Once he gets more comfortable in the lineup, he should prove to be a quality addition and help the team down the stretch. Even if he’s not on the second line, he adds depth in the middle to a team that desperately needed it.