Brenden Morrow retires, left impact on Lightning
Veteran wing Brenden Morrow announced his retirement Thursday in Dallas, where it all started for him nearly two decades ago.
And it was fitting that the Lightning was in town for it, as Tampa Bay was where Morrow's impressive career ended last season, two wins shy of his elusive first Stanley Cup.
"It wasn't the Peyton Manning finish, I got close," Morrow said, smiling. "The game has changed so much, it's gotten so fast. But I really did enjoy my time with those young kids."
Morrow said his biggest disappointment in his career is never winning a Cup, admitting it'll "eat at me for a while." But during an emotional 10-minute speech, Morrow thanked all the people that helped him go from a farmboy from Saskatchewan to an Olympic medalist and Stars captain. His best line was about his wife, Ann-Marie, saying she's so tough, "I wish she were my winger."
Morrow got to catch up with some former Lightning teammates, who lauded his impact on - and off - the ice in the one season in Tampa Bay. Captain Steven Stamkos said Morrow helped him become a better leader, teaching him how to pick his spots to speak up.
"He just brought that veteran presence, a great leader, just a great person," Stamkos said. "We got to go on a great playoff run with him. To see what he brought, that calmness, that character, competitiveness. You knew what you were going to get from him. It was even extra motiivation having him on the team going thorugh that stretch trying to win a championship."
More from today: G Ben Bishop will be in net. C Cedric Paquette (lower body) participated in the optional skate and said he's feeling better, and will be a game-time decision tonight. If not, sounds like Paquette could be back by Saturday against the Coyotes. With Paquette - and C Valtteri Filppula (upper body) - out, Mike Blunden has gotten a chance to play the past two games, and likely again tonight, bringing some needed size and grit. Blunden isn't on an emergency recall, a regular one. "He's having a positive impact on our team, and I think if you look at some of the things we've needed is a little bit more size up front, a little grit, especially when you have some of these injuriers go down," Cooper said. "We've kind of wanted to bulk up a little up front. And when Blunden has been in there the past he's given us that extra little burst in hte offensive zone, and the way he's competed, taking bodies, just kind of generally been a pain in the (butt). When you can have a few of those guys mixed into your lineup, especially our team, it's kind of a fit. So for right now he's been a good fit for us." THe Lightning enters tonight in an 0-for-19 funk on the power play, putting them 26th. One new wrinkle is adding 6-7 forward Brian Boyle as a net front presence. "He's got a really good stick, he's really skilled and can tip pucks," Cooper said. "He's obviously a big presence in front of the net, so as we try to generate more shots we are hoping his presence down there can help."