-- When the Chicago Blackhawks
announced the signing of veteran forward Ryan Johnson
on Friday, it seemed like a precursor to Hawks rookie forward Jeremy Morin
joining Team USA for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship later this month in Buffalo.
Training camp for the U.S. team started Friday in Troy, Rochester and Amherst, N.Y., but Morin wasn't there. He was in Rockford, Ill., with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville
said no final decision has been made about whether Morin will be allowed to help the U.S. try to defend the WJC gold medal he helped Team USA win last January in Saskatoon.
Chicago is dealing with injuries to several key forwards who aren't back to playing games yet, and the Hawks might need to keep Morin around. When asked if the Hawks had come to a decision regarding Morin and the WJC, Quenneville addressed it only briefly.
"Not yet," he said. "That's still out there."
Hawks forward Jack Skille
said it's a great position for Morin no matter what happens.
"If he’s going to World Juniors, that's awesome. It will give him a chance to play for his country," said Skille, who played for the U.S. at the 2006 and 2007 World Juniors. "He's going to have fun and enjoy it. I’m sure he’s going to do well, playing against those guys that maybe weren't playing at the level he's been playing at this year. It should be a good experience for him. I'm an American, so I'm hoping the USA pulls out the gold again."
In nine games with Chicago this season, Morin has 2 goals, 3 points and a plus-2 rating.