Sports fans are cruel, I’ve said that all along. We don’t mean to, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. It’s extremely rare what happend to Sundin’s return to Toronto, and that didn’t happen tonight with Morrison. Of course this wasn’t the first game Morrison played against the Canucks after he left the team via free agency. And of course, he was no Sundin, not by a far margin. However, he’s still a hometown BC boy, one who played eight seasons with the Canucks. He scored a total of 437 points for Vancouver, six 50-points or more seasons, one of which was a 71-point season with 46 assists. Brendan was the pivot centerman for the infamous West Coast Express line, the most successful line in recent Canucks history. For 7 consecutive years, Morrison didn’t missed a single game – that’s 542 games!!! 11th longest in NHL history, until his wrist injury during his contract year in 2008. A hard-working and skillful hometown player, who spent so much time and efforts with the organization and the community, how do you measure his value?? Maybe you can’t, maybe it’s all about the numbers and the stats and the cap.
So, last summer, he chose to sign a $2.75-million contract with Anaheim, leaving his hometown to be re-united with the two persons who gave him his break, Burke and Nonis. I see nothing wrong with that. Some people say that he left the team for money, some say he doesn’t have faith in the success of the Canucks anymore. No matter what the reason was, he did leave us. But this is how it is with professional sports isn’t it? It’s a business, it’s nothing personal, and you can’t be too sentimental over the team you are playing for…or can you??
After tonight’s 4-2 win over Morrison’s new team, the Canucks is tied with the Blackhawks for 4th in the West, in terms of points (Chicago still has one game in their hand). However, both Dallas (9th) and Anaheim (11th) are out of the playoff spots today. I have mixed emotions for the hometown centerman whom I cheered for for so many year when I looked at the NOTES section in TSN’s report on tonight’s game: “…Stars’ radio and TV colour analyst Darryl Reaugh is Morrison’s brother-in-law. Morrison is staying with the Reaughs until he gets an apartment following their road trip. Morrison’s wife and four children have remained in Anaheim until he knows where he will play next season.”
I am thinking to myself, this is a tough job, being professional hockey players. Of course, they make millions of dollars every year, and I don’t think they are complaining. But even for such a skilled player as Morrison, the winner of the Hobey Baker Award in 1997, and numerous accomplishments in his hockey career, at 33 he’s suddenly become a journeyman-type of rental player, without a long-term hockey club, and unsure of where he should have his family re-located.
I remember something funny I read in the CDC (canucks.com) forum last season. I remember seeing so many fans getting on Morrison, on his decline in production, and how he gets injured all the time. Really???!!! I said. Brendan Morrison, gets injured all the time?? I guess fans forget so quickly, and myself included, many years from now, we will probably only remember Morrison leaving our team and eventually retired as a veteran journeyman. No one will remember the many many fabulous goals he scored for us, and the number of games he single-handedly won for us. So, while I still remember, just want to say:
“Welcome home, Brendan. You were great with the Canucks, and we thank you for everything you did for us. I hope you find a good team to fit, and a nice new home for your wife and the kids.”