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Stars' Morrow happy to be off the bubble

by Dan Rosen
Well over a week later, Brenden Morrow is still floating around in that rarified Olympic air.

"I'm still up here," the Dallas Stars' captain told, holding his left hand way above his head.

Morrow figured all along he was a bubble player for Team Canada. It's a position he can give a dissertation on. He went to the orientation camp before the 2002 Games in Utah and again before the 2006 Games in Torino, and neither time made the final cut.

He honestly didn't know what his chances were of making the 2010 Olympic team, especially considering he was coming off major knee surgery and prior to the start of this season hadn't played a game since Nov. 20, 2008. His first time playing competitively was at Canada' orientation camp in Calgary in late August.

Morrow got off to a strong start, but his respectable 25 points in 38 games leading up to the Olympic team announcement didn't exactly scream "Pick me, pick me."

"I have family up in Canada that was telling me this guy is saying this and this guy is saying that," Morrow said. "Early in the season, after I got off to a hot start, I think I was on a few guys' lists and at the end I wasn't. So, I didn't know. I really didn't."

The night before Team Canada was revealed during a gala celebration in Saskatoon, Morrow couldn't sleep.

"We came off a game and I usually don't sleep well after a game anyway, but there was zero sleep," he said. "Mice running around in your head, thinking about what could be for something you have been thinking about for a long time. It was a restless night."

Morrow was at the Stars' training facility in Frisco, Texas on Dec. 30 when Hockey Canada was revealing the team. He was in the gym working out, but Strength and Conditioning coach J.J. McQueen was carrying Morrow's cell phone in his pocket.

Finally, former Stars' GM Doug Armstrong, an associate director of the Olympic team, phoned to give Morrow the good news. He was able to take the call.

"I was pretty excited for the call and I didn't want to miss it," Morrow said. "I'm no spring chicken. I know chances like this aren't going to come very often. It was a huge thrill representing Canada at the World Juniors in Winnipeg (in 1999) in front of the home crowd, so I know what kind of feeling that was. This will be ramped up a couple of levels. It's going to be pretty exciting."

Morrow is currently listed as day-to-day after sustaining an upper-body injury last Saturday in a shootout win against Detroit. It is not yet known how long the ailment will keep him sidelined.

Morrow's first experience on the international level came during the '99 World Juniors, when he won a silver medal. He's also won gold at the 2004 World Championships and silver at the '05 Worlds. In total, he's represented Canada six times.

The feeling never gets old.

"We all bleed for the Dallas Stars here and it's your local fans and die-hards that follow you," Morrow said. "When you're wearing that maple leaf, it's a whole country behind you."

Morrow figures he'll play a checking role in Vancouver.

"I don't think there is any secret about that," he said. "Finishing my checks, playing strong defensively and I think I can contribute and chip in offensively by driving the net, getting rebounds and ugly goals. But, my primary role, what I envision it to be ... is in a checking role.

"The intangibles -- that was probably something in my favor." -- Brenden Morrow

"The intangibles -- that was probably something in my favor."

Executive Director Steve Yzerman picked Morrow because of his grit, and he likes how he's a different player than the other left wings on the team, including Rick Nash, Eric Staal and Patrick Marleau.

"That will be up to Mike (Babcock) to determine how he uses him, but I just think he brings a different element," Yzerman told "He's a skill guy who competes hard and he's a big strong body. I think he complements the team nicely with his style. He's hard-nosed, strong and competitive. He's hard to play against and he has a good skill level and hockey sense. We like everything he does."

Stars coach Marc Crawford, who coached the Canadians in the 1998 Olympics, had a good idea Morrow would get selected this year. He believes the NHL-sized ice surface has a lot to do with it.

"That really plays to his style because he is such a combative and competitive guy and is so good on the forecheck," Crawford told "He's a prototypical Canadian player."

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