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Star power in Morrow's retirement

Signs one-day contract with Dallas to finish 15-season NHL career

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Brenden Morrow's NHL career came full circle Thursday, with the announcement he had signed a ceremonial one-day contract in order to retire as a member of the Dallas Stars during a press conference at American Airlines Center.

Morrow, 37, had 265 goals and 575 points in 991 regular-season games over 15 seasons with Dallas, the Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Morrow had 19 goals and 46 points in 118 games, including appearances in the Stanley Cup Final in 2000 with Dallas and in 2015 with Tampa Bay.

"First of all, I'd like to thank the Stars for letting me come home and have this opportunity," Morrow said. "It wasn't easy leaving here [in 2013]. Those last few years, at least I knew the team was in great hands with Jamie Benn. I'm his biggest fan."

Video: Brenden Morrow Arena Cam Interview

 Dallas selected Morrow in the first round (No. 25) of the 1997 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut with the Stars in 2000, the season after they won the Stanley Cup under Ken Hitchcock.

That experience is one that stuck with Morrow throughout his career. He was named the Stars captain in 2006, a role he filled until 2013, when he was traded to Pittsburgh.  

"We had a good run [in 2000], we made it to the Final. It was a veteran team, I was a young guy," Morrow said. "It paid off for me and I appreciate everything they [the veterans] did [for me]."

Stars president Jim Lites introduced Morrow on Thursday.

"He was an unbelievable young player, he did everything it took to win," Lites said. "He's an example, all the things we want our players to be. He's going to be an important part of our alumni and our organization. While it's ceremonial, it's very important for us. It's really a privilege for me to announce that Brenden is a Dallas Star today and will finish his career as a Star."

Video: TBL@DAL: Stars pay tribute to Morrow with ceremony

 Morrow made his last appearance as a player in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final with the Lightning, in which Tampa Bay lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

Tampa Bay is in Dallas to face the Stars on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-SW, NHL.TV), and Lightning coach Jon Cooper reflected on the impact Morrow had on his team last season.

"He's got a presence about him," Cooper said. "Players migrate to him. He's one of those guys too, that he doesn't have a ton of words, but when they do come out, they mean something, and he's just an all-around great guy.

"You don't have to score the goal or make the big assist, but are you contributing on the ice? Are guys looking at you saying, 'Oh wow, he's doing that, I have to do that.' That's kind of how Brenden Morrow was."

Video: Teammates describe the career of Brenden Morrow

 Many of Cooper's memories from the Eastern Conference championship team include Morrow.

"I'll tell you, nobody owned the front of the net like him, nobody could hit like him," Cooper said. "He was heavy, he made an impact in a positive way every time he was on the ice, and more importantly he made a huge impact in our locker room. To have somebody of his stature, his personality, his leadership, in our room went miles. I thought that was one of our biggest acquisitions last year."

Morrow said it's unclear what his first move will be in retirement, but he doesn't appear to be in any rush to announce anything.

"I'm going to take it a day at a time," he said, "just enjoy some time with these guys [my family] that have been troupers, traveling around, sacrificing a lot. With everything they've done the last few years, I think it's time they get my focus and my attention."


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