Vancouver Province article (Morrison takes reins)November 23 2011 at 7:11 AM
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Morrison takes reins
New netminder helps to turn around team
By Steve Ewen, The Province
November 23, 2011
Adam Morrison will finish out his junior playing career as the Vancouver Giants' No. 1 goalie.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch - PNG, The Province
A funny thing happened waiting to ask Saskatoon Blades bench boss Lorne Molleken Tuesday what Adam Morrison had meant to his old club.
While on hold, a radio highlight of one Morrison's saves from last season blared through the earpiece.
You can call it circumstantial. There are so many things going on for WHL clubs these days that they don't have the time or manpower to update things like their phone setups. Karma is another possibility, too, though.
Morrison, the White Rock native whose arrival on the Vancouver Giants coincided with the team starting to look like it had some contender in it, spent three key seasons in Saskatoon. It's easy to guess that Saturday's visit to the Credit Union Centre will be a game that both clubs are going to look back on at the end of the campaign. Vancouver leaves Wednesday for their annual Eastern Conference marathon. They open the six-game road trip Friday by facing the Prince Albert Raiders.
"Adam deserved to be a No. 1 goalie, and when we had the opportunity to work a deal with Vancouver, he could do just that and go home to finish out his junior career with a real good program," said Molleken.
Saskatoon is hosting the Memorial Cup next season, and needed to break in a netminder for that. Steven Stanford, who had split the goaltending duties the previous two regular seasons with Morrison and handled the reins in the playoffs for Saskatoon, had moved onto the UBC Thunderbirds, and Morrison wasn't viable, either, since this is his final WHL season. Saskatoon opted for Andrey Makarov, 18, a Russian.
Vancouver needed a goalie for the right now. In the five games they played with since-departed Brendan Jensen as their No. 1, they gave up five or more goals four times. In the 20 games since acquiring Morrison and winger Levi Bews for winger Michael Burns, defenceman Zach Hodder and a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick, Vancouver has allowed five or more goals three times, and one of those was a shootout loss. They were 13-6-0-1 in that span.
"Adam was a tremendous soldier for this team," said Molleken. "I'm glad that we were able to work something out with Vancouver that turned out positive for both teams."
Bews, 17, is a feisty, hardcharging type who fits in with a Vancouver forward pack that scores most of its goals with plays that look similar to one-yard quarterback sneaks. He has six points, including two goals, in 19 games.
Hodder, 18, a former Vancouver first-round bantam pick, was found wanting and shuttled out of Saskatoon after 11 games. He's playing in the BCHL with the Coquitlam Express. Meanwhile Burns, an over-ager, has been superb for the Blades, putting up nine goals and 20 points in his first 20 games there and taking on enough of a leadership role that they've made him an alternate captain. Of course, he's the older brother of Giants winger Nathan Burns, 18, which, of course, is yet another sidebar to Saturday's festivities.
"I know that he's anxious to play against his brother and his old teammates," said Molleken.
Saskatoon was 17-6-0-1 heading into Tuesday night's game with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
© Copyright (c) The Province
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