By Ken Wiebe
The Winnipeg Sun
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Justin Morrison wasn’t looking for a fresh start, but after a daunting wait he finally found one.
The big winger showed glimpses of his seemingly limitless potential during four seasons with the Manitoba Moose but was plagued by inconsistency, so the parent Vancouver Canucks took a pass when Morrison became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
There weren’t many takers for his services until the Chicago Wolves came calling on Oct. 19 with an AHL contract.
So will there be some ill will when Morrison, who played for Columbia of the ECHL in 2002-03, meets the Moose for the first time Wednesday at Allstate Arena? Additional motivation maybe, but no bad blood.
“I had such a good time playing with the Moose, I’m just happy for the time I had there,” Morrison said from Chicago yesterday. “That’s the way it is. “Sure, I was disappointed, but it’s a business, and you see it all the time. The way I see it, I’ve been fortunate enough to play for two of the top organizations in the American Hockey League.”
Morrison, who has nine goals and 20 points in 34 games with the Wolves this season, concedes that it took him some time to get used to wearing the other jersey in this storied rivalry that dates back to the International Hockey League days.
“It’s always interesting when you battled against that team for so many years,” said Morrison, who missed 11 games with a groin injury but returned to the lineup on Feb. 8. “I’m used to it now, and it’s more natural. It’s going to be good to see some of the guys (from the Moose) you’ve seen before.”
Going through free agency for the first time didn’t go the way Morrison had envisioned, but that didn’t prevent him from “stepping up his preparation a couple of notches” so he’d be ready when an opportunity came knocking.