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Morrow reminisces about Isles, Miracle On Ice

by Brian Compton
TERRACE, British Columbia -- Ken Morrow has participated in a lot of special events in his hockey career.
Five trips to the Stanley Cup Final and four straight championships with the New York Islanders. A gold medal victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Twenty years after playing his last game in the NHL, Morrow -- now the Director of Pro Scouting for the Isles -- will take part in another special event this weekend, as he arrived at Kraft Hockeyville on Saturday afternoon.
The 52-year-old former defenseman was gracious enough to spend a few minutes with How excited are you to be a part of this event?

KM: I'm very excited. I was fortunate enough to have done this a couple of years ago in North Bay (Ontario). I kind of know what to expect. It's an exciting event. Have you ever been here before?

KM: No, this is my first time in Terrace. The first thing somebody told me was that it's up near Alaska, and I've never been to Alaska or up this far. But I enjoy going to places I haven't been before. Do you like the idea of Kraft Hockeyville and bringing the NHL to small towns such as Terrace?

KM: I think it's a fantastic idea -- one of the best marketing ideas I've ever seen, really. You've got all these towns across Canada who are involved in this. What a fantastic thing to be associated with. Everybody's excited. It's been 20 years since you last played, but you were part of so many special moments during your career. How often do you reflect on it?

KM: Not a lot. I think you go through these stages. When I first got done playing, you still thought you were still playing even though you weren't. You have that mindset. And then it got to be where your attention gets turned to other things. But you start talking to people and reminiscing and everything. These kind of things trigger that because you're around other NHL guys. You see the kids and it reminds you of when you were a kid. But I've been lucky enough to have been a part of a lot of great moments. I don't mind talking about it. [laughs] Does a town like Terrace remind you of Lake Placid at all?

KM: Yeah, very much so. Lake Placid is one of my favorite places … set aside what happened there. The Islanders had their training camp there for a number of years back in the mid-90s. I got to know the town more then as opposed to with the Olympic team. We didn't get out to do much then. But this is a perfect town. You've got a small-town atmosphere and there's so much outdoor stuff to do. It's great. Can you believe that was almost 30 years ago?

KM: There are certain things that fly by and it reminds you of that. You have your kids' birthdays and your high school reunions, and all of a sudden you're at your 35-year reunion. But this thing with the Olympic team, if anything it's gotten bigger over the years. Thirty years. Geez. Let's talk about the Islanders. How do you feel about this current group?

KM: I know the fans may want to see some results and all that, but I think the excitement is there as far as all the young guys coming into the organization. With what (Isles GM) Garth (Snow) has done with stockpiling all the draft picks the last couple of years and using those on players … there's a lot of talent. The next two, three years are going to vital in the development of these players, and the fans are going to get to see it on Long Island. Is there a lot of pressure for John Tavares to contribute right away?

KM: Well, I think the pressure is relevant. It's not a Toronto or a Montreal, so there isn't that intense pressure. But if anybody can handle it, this kid can. That's what I'm most impressed with. I haven't been around him a lot, but from what I've seen, the kid handles it like he's 35 years old. I think that's one of the most impressive things about him. He's been under this microscope and he's played under the pressure. He rises to the occasion. This could be a pretty big year for the franchise between John's arrival and hopefully the approval of the Lighthouse Project, right?

KM: Yeah, there's a lot going on with the Islanders. A lot of good things, really. We're all waiting to see what's going to happen with the Lighthouse. When the on-ice product gets to where it should be, I think the rest of it will take care of itself. Do you enjoy what you're doing now?

I do. I've been doing this a long time. I think it's my 17th year on the scouting end. I still like it. I've survived a lot of different owners, I've survived a lot of different general managers and a lot of different coaches. I'm fortunate enough to still be with the Islander organization all these years -- since 1980. It's been a good thing for me, and hopefully for them, too.

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