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Family Matters

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins defensive prospect Joseph Morrow plays hockey for a pretty simple reason: it’s in his blood.

Morrow, Pittsburgh’s 2011 first-round draft pick (23rd overall), comes from a family that has produced two (three counting Joseph) NHL draft picks.

Joseph Morrow at Pens 2011 development camp
Dave Morrow, Joseph’s father, was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks 56th overall in the 1977 NHL Draft. Joseph’s older brother, Josh, was drafted in the seventh round (203rd overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft by Nashville (when Penguins general manager Ray Shero was serving as assistant GM for the Predators).

“My brother and my dad supported me through everything I did,” Joseph said. “They’ve helped me from skating to shooting to passing. They’ve helped me be a smart hockey player, thinking the game before you do something.”

In fact, the reason Morrow chose to play along the blue line is because both his father and brother were defensemen.

“My dad’s a defenseman, my brother’s a defenseman, so it’s natural to hop into a defenseman’s boots and play like that,” he said. “I thought it was smart to do that, get the best advice from both of them. They’ve been through it all. Being a forward it would have been a little more difficult.”

It’s also not surprising to learn that Morrow followed in his older brother’s footsteps considering that of all the players in the NHL, it was Josh that Joseph idolized the most as a youth.

Morrow one-on-one interview
Morrow on his playing style
Morrow on his skating ability
Morrow mic'd up
Pens draft Morrow

“Growing up (my idol) was my brother,” Morrow said of Josh, whose playing career was ended prematurely due to a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. “I watched my brother play. He was a tough guy. He was a pretty big, scary dude. I respected everything he did. He was my idol for sure. He brought me into the dressing rooms as a kid. It’s pretty heart warming to know that he really cared about me.”

Of course, the love is mutual between the two brothers.

“On draft day he was a little bit teary eyed to see me get drafted and go high,” Joseph said. “To be selected in the first round is like a dream come true. His heart was right where mine was.”

And just to illustrate Morrow’s priorities, after getting selected by the Penguins at the draft, he has used the past few weeks to spend quality time with the most important people in his life.

“I spent a lot of time at home and with family, enjoyed the moment as much as I could,” Morrow said. “There’s not a lot of chance to spent time with my brother, sister and parents all together. They’re very important to me and I try to keep them as close as possible.”

Joseph Morrow (left) and his older brother Josh (right)

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