NHL veteran Brendan Morrison joined the Calgary Flames just before the start of the season and has proven to be a valuable and versatile acquisition. Morrison can play all three forward positions, although center is his natural spot. He is also seeing time on both special team units.
Writer Laurence Heinan caught up with Morrison for a Face-Off piece in Blaze, the Calgary Flames official souvenir program, which is available for purchase at every Calgary Flames home game.
Below is the Brendan Morrison spotlight.
Q: How nice was it to be picked up by the Flames this season?
a: It’s nice to have things settled out here, and I can get on with the season . there was a lot of uncertainty there for a while . It’s nice to kind of move forward now . If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I’d sign in Calgary, I don’t think I would have believed you, but it’s nice to be wanted . that’s a good thing . there were a couple other options out there, but I felt this was the best fit when I looked at the lineup and the talent they have up front . I’ve had a lot of tough battles against these guys in the regular season and the playoffs . It feels good to come here . Hockey’s a funny game that way . you can battle on the ice, but you go to a new team and it’s like 20 new brothers in there . they have all been great and accepted me on the first day .
Q: After all those years wearing a Canucks jersey, what’s it like wearing the Flames jersey in front of the C of red?
a: It’s different for sure. It really hit me the first time I came out of the tunnel at the Saddledome on the other side. It’s a new opportunity, it’s a new challenge and I’m excited about it.
Q: Were the Canucks your favourite team growing up in nearby Pitt Meadows, B .C .?
a: Vancouver and Calgary. You probably don’t want to hear this answer, but I was a fan, like many young kids in that era, of Gretzky and the Oilers. I have moved on from that.
Q: What’s it going to be like suiting up against the Canucks?
a: It won’t be strange or difficult simply because I have played against them since I have been off the team, but still, it will be fun. These divisional games are important games, and they’re always intense games. I’ve got a pretty good inside scoop (on the Canucks) so hopefully we can put that to good use. Of course, when we play Vancouver, there’s nothing more that I would like than to beat them. I think that’s human nature. When one team tells you they don’t want you and you have a chance to play them a couple times, you want to put your best foot forward.
Q: What are you looking for out of yourself this season?
a: I want to be a guy that can be relied upon on a nightly basis to contribute, whether that is offensively, defensively, on special teams or in any role they ask of me. I am willing to do anything to help the team win. I think this team, once we get healthier and healthier, is going to be a real threat.
Q: Do you know much about the Calgary Flames?
a: I know about them from playing against them for so many years. They are always a really hard-working team, usually a sound defensive team. But this year they are talking about adding more skill up front and playing at a more high-tempo pace, so hopefully I can add to that mix.
Q: What do you think about playing for Brent Sutter?
a: Obviously you hear about the Sutters and their reputation. You hear they are hard-nosed guys and this and that, but I mean, you don’t want to pass judgment on anybody until you actually experience it. It’s something I am looking forward to.
Q: What do you like about coming back to play in Canada?
a: It’s a hockey market with a lot more exposure . you are under the microscope more, so there is more pressure . It’s nice to be in an environment where people care .I think as a player you relish that or thrive on it and turn it into a positive . you don’t want to use it as a negative at all.
Q: How did you choose your number?
a: Well, basically it boiled down to do you want number eight or number 11? I was in the car with two of my kids and they chose eight, so that’s what we are going with. That simple .
Q: What do you like to do in the off-season?
a: Our family has a place on the West Coast on Vancouver Island, so we do a lot of outdoor activities, boating, and the kids are getting into surfing and boogie boarding. Things like that. But I am a huge fisherman, so when I have free time, what I like to do is fish.
Q: Who is your favourite actor?
a: It varies a little bit here and there. For comedy, Will Farrell is up there. Vince Vaughan is funny, and Ben Stiller…guys like that. To be perfectly honest, I really haven’t seen a lot of movies the last few years with four kids, so I really don’t have one right now.