VANCOUVER â€” Brendan Morrison feels for his old teammate.
The former Canucks centre played six seasons in Vancouver with Trevor Linden, now the club’s president of hockey operations and the man tasked with leading the franchise out of the wilderness as it lurches towards a second spring in three years without playoff hockey.
“It’s always difficult when you see your friends put under the microscope, there’s no question,” Morrison said in a phone interview this week with The Canadian Press. “It’s one of those things where Vancouver’s been fortunate to have great teams for the last 12 to 14 years.”
After a return to the playoffs in 2014-’15, the Canucks took a big step backwards this season, in part due to some key injuries, as they attempted to inject youth into their aging roster.
Morrison, a member of the Canucks from 2000 to 2008, said the team’s inability to win the Stanley Cup during his time in Vancouver or in subsequent years means that expectations have remained sky-high despite the need to rebuild.
“It’s just really unfortunate that they never won the Cup,” said Morrison. “I think if there had been a Cup in there, there would be more breathing room right now. Because there wasn’t a Cup, the pressure kind of magnifies.”
Retired since 2012 following a career that included 200 goals and 401 assists in 934 games with seven NHL teams, Morrison lives in Calgary with his wife and four children, keeping busy with family duties and a couple of business ventures.
The Pitt Meadow, B.C., native still pays attention to what goes on with the Canucks and believes in his old teammate’s ability to turn things around.
But that doesn’t mean Morrison thinks there’s a quick fix.
“As much as sometimes people don’t want to be patient, you do have to be patient,” he said. “That’s today’s NHL. There’s such an emphasis on drafting. It’s not like you can just go out and spend as much money as you want like a lot of teams used to be able to do.
“Having these young guys getting experience is going to help down the road.”
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press