For those of you who don’t know, I’m from the West Coast and from the time I was old enough to walk I have watched almost every Canuck game shown on TV. I always loved to watch and cheer for those who work hard every shift and wreak the rewards from their tenacity. Brendan Morrison was a good Canadian kid from the Lower Mainland, whom the Canucks picked up from New Jersey in the Alexander Mogilny trade. Morrison looked great wearing the Canuck colors and instantly became a fan-favourite. B-MO was a feel good story for the Canucks and always had a smile on his face.
MO was the odd duck on the old West Coast Express (Naslund, Bertuzzi, and Morrison) that ripped apart Western Conference goalies. He and the Canucks were a powerhouse in the West, posing a threat to make a long cup run each year. Unfortunately, this era of in Vancouver came to a crashing halt when Big Burt punched Steve Moore in the back of his head, ending Moore’s hockey career. After a disappointing year following the lock-out, GM Dave Nonis shipped Bertuzzi to Florida for Roberto Luongo. The Canucks switched styles that year, from a high-flying offence to a tight defence that never fit in Brendan’s game. Former line mate Naslund jumped up to join the Sedin twins on the first line, leaving B-MO and officially ended the West Coast Express.
Brendan Morrison wasn’t just known in Vancouver for his on ice play, but his charity work and connecting with the community. B-MO was at Children’s hospital and Canuck Place almost every day spending time with kids that were facing the biggest challenges of their young lives.
During the 2006-2007 season while I was playing minor hockey I had an opportunity to come to Vancouver for a practice and then watch the Canucks practice after our ice time. It was a dream for any kid to skate at GM Place, the same ice where the pros skate.
Unfortunately the big leaguers didn’t even acknowledge that we were there. No one came to give autographs or even to say “hi” to our hockey team of 12 year olds. I realize it’s a tough job being a pro and constantly being hounded by the media and hockey fans.
Although there was one Canuck, who stood at the end of the tunnel grinning ear to ear, waiting for us when we all came off the ice. Brendan Morrison made our day, tapping each kid’s gloves and saying hi to every player that can off the ice. I will never forget his toothy grin and how I never washed my glove since that day!
Since then Morrison has struggled, the ex- Canuck tried to re-boot his career in Anaheim, Dallas, and Washington. All were failed experiments and it appeared that he didn’t have the magic in his stick since he left Vancouver.
The members of the West Coast Express have all gone their own ways and struggled to return to find their games. Naslund has since retired, but not before joining the New York Rangers for one last kick at the can, which was unsuccessful. Big-Burt has jumped around from team to team, similar to Morrison, trying to get his game back. Todd’s game has slowly declined and his body is constantly injury riddled. Bertuzzi has become a veteran role player for the Red Wings, hoping to win the Cup before his body breaks down.
So, when I heard Morrison was coming back to Vancouver to try-out for the team I got excited. One of my favourite Canucks was back in Van-city to return to a place where he had been in his glory days. I am itching to see how B-MO will do and I am rooting for the BC boy, Morrison, to rekindle his career.