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Morrow's Whirlwind Summer

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
So far this summer, Joseph Morrow has already attended the NHL Scouting Combine, NHL Entry Draft, Penguins prospect development camp and Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp.

Next up is the 2011 Rookie Tournament and Penguins training camp this month.

So we asked him – are you tired yet?

“I wouldn't use tired – maybe exhausted is the word fitting that situation,” Morrow said with a laugh, quickly adding: “But in all honesty, it’s all fun. Anything that involves hockey, I’m glad to do.”

Morrow, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in this summer’s draft, is a focused, determined young man with a solid head on his shoulders.

But the 18-year-old defenseman admits that with all of the high-profile events he’s experienced in such a short period of time, he’s definitely grown as both a player and a person.

“I’ve always been told that I’m kind of a little more mature for my age than most people,” he said. “It might be catching up to me now in all of these interviews and media interaction, as well as promoting teams and acting professional. It’s changed me a little bit, but it’s changed me for the better, definitely.”

One thing that has definitely changed in Morrow is his confidence, which increased after a successful development camp with the Penguins in July.

He took that elevated aplomb with him to the Canadian National Junior Team Development Camp from Aug. 3-7 in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, AB, where he auditioned for a chance to represent his country and province on an international stage for the first time – something he took an incredible amount of pride in.

“You know hockey is the No. 1 sport in Canada,” said Morrow, a native of Sherwood Park, AB. “It’s a huge deal down here, and I don’t take that lightly at all. It really means a lot to me.”

Although the camp was a bit overwhelming at times – sharing the ice with the best players in his age group as fans flooded to watch both the practices and the intrasquad games – Morrow is satisfied with the way he performed.

“I think I played well,” he said. “I think I made a name for myself there and stood out a little bit with the things that I did. So hopefully they put a little check mark beside my name and I can impress them further down the road.”

To top it all off, Morrow signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Penguins earlier this month.

“I’m extremely honored to be a part of the organization now officially by paper and ink,” he said.

And it’s an organization Morrow is looking to join sooner rather than later. Although the 6-foot, 197-pound defenseman is scheduled to continue his development in junior hockey this season with Portland of the Western Hockey League (WHL), which he calls a “fantastic place to play,” he’s going to do everything he can to accelerate the process.

“I’m going to do everything I can to try and stick to the Penguins roster this year,” Morrow said. “I may as well shoot for the stars. My goal right now is to do everything I can to be a permanent Penguin.”
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