Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
is expected to play in his 1,000th NHL game on Sunday vs. St. Louis. In this exclusive Q & A with phoenixcoyotes.com, Morris explains what reaching this milestone will mean to him and more.
Q: Your next game will be your 1,000th NHL game. What will reaching that milestone mean to you?
“I haven’t even thought about it all that much. My kids are excited about it. They think it’s neat to have 1,000 games - for some reason that’s a big number that sticks in their heads. But I really don’t know. I just enjoy playing the game. It’s been fun. It just means that I’ve been around for a really long time and I’ve been very fortunate to be able to play that long and you don’t look past anything... I never set a goal to play a lot of games, but I’m very fortunate I did (play a lot of games) and I’m very thankful.”Q: Does it feel like you’ve played 1,000 games or 10,000 games or 10 games?A:
“Well, it depends on which day you’re talking about, but today I feel good. When you’re winning games, obviously, you don’t feel as bad as when you’re losing them. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been hard at times. We had some long years here, but it’s been a lot of fun as of late. The years have been flying by and the game has been flying by.”Q: What has been the key to your longevity? Has your off-season conditioning regimen been a big part of your stamina?
|Photo by Getty Images. |
“Yeah, I think so. I think early in my career I didn’t train the way I was supposed to. I was fortunate when I was young I was in good shape, but I never trained the way I had to and then I think I had a long injury; I had a shoulder injury in Calgary and then I had an ankle injury here. I was drilled at a young age from Brad McCrimmon, a guy who I speak pretty highly of. (He) always told me, “You'd better train a lot harder, you’ve got to train harder,” and I did. I started to realize that longevity was going to hold up and my body was holding up and the bumps and bruises weren’t lasting quite as long.”Q:
Do you have a favorite moment from your first 1,000 games?A:
“I’ve got a lot. Obviously, I think my first playoff game was huge. It was a lot of fun in Colorado. I had a lot of fun there and obviously being here has been one of the biggest things in my life. I’ve enjoyed being in Phoenix. I’ve been fortunate to play here for a long time and it’s a great city and a great group of guys. I don’t think a lot of locker rooms can say that the rooms are as close as ours. Everybody that has come in has always said the same thing - it’s a fun dressing room, we all really, really enjoy each other, and I don’t know if it’s one specific thing, but I’ve been very fortunate. I enjoy playing here.”