Flames Sign Morrison

Pat Steinberg
October 04 2010 02:26PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 02: Brendan Morrison #9 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on January 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Capitals 2-1. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames have officially signed forward Brendan Morrison to a contract.  Numerous sources are now reporting it's a one year deal worth $725,000.  It comes after a rash of injuries which have seen Calgary centres Daymond Langkow, Matt Stajan, David Moss and Ryan Stone all sidelined.

Morrison had been on a preseason tryout with the Vancouver Canucks, a team he played parts of eight seasons with.  After one year stops in Dallas and Anaheim over the last few seasons, he found himself with the Washington Capitals last year, posting 12 goals and 42 points in 74 games.

Morrison turned 35 in August and his puck distribution skills could certainly be used as an asset on the team.  The cap hit isn't huge, and even with moderate results this season, it is probably viewed as a low risk signing by many. 

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 RossCreekNation
October 04 2010, 02:27PM
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Nice deal all around, everything considered. I wanted him a few years ago to play set-up man for Iggy, but with the injuries now, I'll take it.

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#2 Kent Wilson
October 04 2010, 02:31PM
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Morrison is a pretty average player these days, but as a stop-gap measure he's certainly passable. The Flames bottom-6 was looking positively ragged with Moss, Kotalik, Langkow and Stajan on the shelf.

That said, this creates quite the situation once everyone is healthy (assuming that happens).

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#3 RossCreekNation
October 04 2010, 02:34PM
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@Kent Wilson

How does it create quite the situation? The number is not "too big" that it creates problems. If he does nothing, they can waive him and if no one picks him up, send him to Ab. If he's better than someone else, they can waive whomever. I don't see any downside, really.

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#4 Kent Wilson
October 04 2010, 02:35PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

How does it create quite the situation? The number is not "too big" that it creates problems. If he does nothing, they can waive him and if no one picks him up, send him to Ab. If he's better than someone else, they can waive whomever. I don't see any downside, really.

I suppose that's true.

Ryan Stone just swore quite loudly to himself I think. Probably Meyer too.

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#5 RossCreekNation
October 04 2010, 02:44PM
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@Kent Wilson

Could even mean the end of Conroy at some point before season's end (if play dictates it).

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#6 Robert Cleave
October 04 2010, 02:51PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I suppose that's true.

Ryan Stone just swore quite loudly to himself I think. Probably Meyer too.

The Flames still have guys like Jackman or Sutter Jr. that could be waived as well, so it isn't like they couldn't move a body. It certainly doesn't seem like the ownership gives a damn about one way deals in Abby, either. When Moss was healthy, I wouldn't have bothered. Now? He's likely a better player than Meyer or Stone or Sutter, and that's the level on the roster where he might help.

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#7 Casey
October 04 2010, 02:52PM
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Anybody else get the feeling that Langkow may not be coming back any time soon?

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#8 RossCreekNation
October 04 2010, 02:57PM
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@Casey

I have ZERO expectations that he'll be back before Christmas.

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#9 Gange
October 04 2010, 03:01PM
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I believe this is one of the signs of the apocalypse. That makes two now, trading with the Oilers, and signing Brendan Morrison. Next thing you know they'll hire Jay feas...nevermind.

It's a signing to replace injured bodies. If he does more than I think he'll do it's a win. If not, he'll be replaced when people get healthy. All in all not a bad move, and not really unexpected.

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#10 icedawg_42
October 04 2010, 03:01PM
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Casey wrote:

Anybody else get the feeling that Langkow may not be coming back any time soon?

I'm getting that sinking feeling. definitely a lot of moving parts here! I think even DSutter is taking the "wait and see" approach. I still hope Connie gets his silver stick though.

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#11 RossCreekNation
October 04 2010, 03:13PM
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Over the last week or two, both Randy Sportak & Steve MacFarlane have been on Edmonton radio and left the distinct impression that Langkow won't be playing anytime soon - ie: not before Dec - and perhaps even later than that - ie: not at all this season.

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#12 Kent Wilson
October 04 2010, 03:13PM
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I did a slightly more in-depth take for the Score.

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#13 JF
October 04 2010, 03:19PM
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I was expecting some low $ pick-up. I see this as a Kotalik/Moss replacement until they're healed up.

Solid enough move.

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#14 RossCreekNation
October 04 2010, 03:46PM
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And courtesy Vicki Hall...

Feaster: Langkow isn't even skating due to symptoms that resemble a neck concussion. Doctors have prescribed rest.

There you have it. Don't hold your breath on Langkow... it could be a (loooooooong) while.

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#15 JTB
October 04 2010, 04:01PM
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Just heard Assistant GM Jay F. ( Fan 960 ) state that they don't think that Backlund is ready yet so they needed to bring in Morrison as insurance. (???)

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#16 Kent Wilson
October 04 2010, 04:02PM
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JTB wrote:

Just heard Assistant GM Jay F. ( Fan 960 ) state that they don't think that Backlund is ready yet so they needed to bring in Morrison as insurance. (???)

And fair enough. We've discussed around here how Backlund really didn't turn heads last season in either the AHL or NHL.

That said, not like Morrison is a guaranteed upgrade or anything.

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#17 Robert Cleave
October 04 2010, 04:05PM
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That was a pretty interesting interview with Feaster. Beyond the stuff about Langkow that RCN mentioned, it was pretty clear that the club wasn't entirely convinced Backlund is ready. He also noted that he didn't think that Moss would go on LTIR, implying he wasn't hurt badly enough to be out for at least 24 days.

Also, on the off-chance that people were wondering, with the virtual certainty that Langkow will be on LTIR to start, his comments make it clear that the Flames won't have to shed any extra salary to be in compliance.

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#18 Kent Wilson
October 04 2010, 04:07PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

That was a pretty interesting interview with Feaster. Beyond the stuff about Langkow that RCN mentioned, it was pretty clear that the club wasn't entirely convinced Backlund is ready. He also noted that he didn't think that Moss would go on LTIR, implying he wasn't hurt badly enough to be out for at least 24 days.

Also, on the off-chance that people were wondering, with the virtual certainty that Langkow will be on LTIR to start, his comments make it clear that the Flames won't have to shed any extra salary to be in compliance.

As mentioned above, that actually strikes me as sensible. Aside from the first period of last night's contest, Backlund never really stood out to me to any great degree in the pre-season (to say nothing of last year) that would make me think he's ready for the role the injuries would have him thrust into.

Like others, I'm also starting to get the "Langkow is closer to retirement than returning" vibe.

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#19 everton fc
October 04 2010, 04:11PM
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This could be insurance for Conroy, if he doesn't come out of the gates well. I think it's a decent signing. Who doesn't?

Or... Moss is out long term... ????

Of course, Moss could always be moved back to the wing - say, on a fourth line centered by Conroy or Morrison... As a possible 3rd line centre, Morrison is probably superior at puck-distribution than Moss... Just random thoughts, of course... But Moss would certainly be on the wing if Langkow was healthy, would he not? (Then again... if Moss doesn't get hurt, do we sign Morrison?)

Too bad for Meyer, though. I like him. He's a Prairie Farm Boy with a grinding game who has a future w/the organization. He outplayed Sutter, Jr. And Jackman, for that matter. As for Stone, he is injury prone. If healthy, he and Meyer are two parts to an interesting fourth line in the near future (centered by Morrison, perhaps, if he sticks a year or two) When he's finally over the knee issues, Stone's headed for Abbotsford. But I also like Stone... if healthy...

Is a trade on the horizon (Sarich/??), or the demotion (retirement?) of Staois? ... Waive whichever "Thing" Ivanans is, cross our collective fingers he's picked up by somebody... You never know!

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#20 everton fc
October 04 2010, 04:12PM
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Sorry... See that Moss is not a long-term concern. Perhaps insurance for Backlund then - in the top 6, I mean...?

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#21 Robert Cleave
October 04 2010, 04:14PM
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everton fc wrote:

Sorry... See that Moss is not a long-term concern. Perhaps insurance for Backlund then - in the top 6, I mean...?

The Feaster interview made it pretty clear that Morrison was cover for Backlund not being up to snuff.

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#22 Greg
October 04 2010, 04:18PM
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@RossCreekNation

I was surprised to see Moss get moved to center earlier instead of just moving Conroy up a couple lines, but if Langkow is out long term, that makes a lot of sense.

So where does Morrison slot in? Options I could see:

1) put him on the fourth line and put Conroy with Glencross to try and get a heavy lifting line. He won't produce or provide "energy" in that role though (hence why Vancouver cut him)

2) put him on the third line and hope that he and Glencross can keep their heads above water against tougher comp and get a bit of offense out of him.

3) put him with Iggy and Hagman, and put Tanguay and Jokinen with Bourque to try to get 2 scoring lines. That moves Backlund down though, and still leaves you without any options against other teams top lines.

Hmm, I wanted to see this happen, but looking at these options, he's really just a warm body that doesn't address any need, other than to make the bottom 6 look less worse on paper. Also probably means that Sutter didn't feel like he could make a trade (e.g. Sarich for Hecht) so this is probably as good a solution as we're going to get. Sigh.

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#23 Greg
October 04 2010, 04:35PM
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On the humorous side, does this mean Sutter's contingency plan for an Iginla injury is to bring Naslund out of retirement? Would complete the high jacking of the West Coast Line and rings the "reclamation project" cowbell...

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#24 JF
October 04 2010, 04:36PM
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I hope he's just insurance on Backlund and not penciled in to start on the second line.

Honestly, I don't have much faith in 35 year old guys who have ho-hum numbers playing for the team with the most potent offense in the NHL while playing in the no-defense (SE) division.

Damnit, hurry up and heal Stajan.

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#25 everton fc
October 04 2010, 04:47PM
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Down the road... perhaps!

Moss will go back to the wing once Stajan is back, which I think will be sooner, than later. Moss will go back to the wing, 3rd line, Backlund or Morrison centering. Glencross stays on this line. Kotalik returns, Moss perhaps moves to the fourth line...

4th line - Conny/Morrison/Moss??? Or Conny is waived... Jackman plays the other wing...??

Who knows!

Our centres: Jokinen Stajan Morrison/Backlund Conroy/Morrison (Once Stajan returns)

Staois could be gone. Perhaps packaged with a prospect? Or, Sarich packaged... with a prospect... for picks??

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#26 Calgary 6 Edmonton 0
October 04 2010, 04:59PM
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1.Jokinen 2.Backlund 3.Morrison 4.Conroy. Not a bad line up at center considering all the injuries. I really want to see how Backlund handles his opportunity with all the quality minutes he'll be getting. As for Morrison, can't go wrong with a salary like that and Conroy still skates very well for a man of his age. Hopefully the top 6 forwards can carry our offense through this injury ordeal.

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#27 walkinvisible
October 04 2010, 05:04PM
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yet another example of the sutter regime selecting a re-tread over giving a roster spot to a kid. i'm actually pro-morrison but i think, given a chance with the big club, backlund would succeed.

next year, i guess.

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#28 Kent Wilson
October 04 2010, 05:11PM
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walkinvisible wrote:

yet another example of the sutter regime selecting a re-tread over giving a roster spot to a kid. i'm actually pro-morrison but i think, given a chance with the big club, backlund would succeed.

next year, i guess.

Not sure this effects Backlund - certainly not in the short term at least. He'll get minutes no matter when with Moss, Stajan and Langkow down.

A month or two from now when Stajan returns, I'm guessing the powers-that-be will base their decision on how the two have performed in the interim. If Mikael is better than Morrison, he'll probably continue to get played. If not, then not.

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#29 Casey
October 04 2010, 05:15PM
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I don't think that throwing a kid in over his head is the answer. It is not the way to win games, and not good for the development of the player.

Backlund is the only prospect that is really ready to play top 6 minutes. And based on the Feaster interview, it sounds like they don't think he is ready. Having a guy like Morrison around gives them a lot of flexibility. He can play center on lines 1-4.

It isn't like they signed him to a 3 year deal with a no movement clause...

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#30 SmellOfVictory
October 04 2010, 05:37PM
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walkinvisible wrote:

yet another example of the sutter regime selecting a re-tread over giving a roster spot to a kid. i'm actually pro-morrison but i think, given a chance with the big club, backlund would succeed.

next year, i guess.

Who knows? I assumed they'd use Morrison as Conroy Lite, and give Backlund and the Joker a better chance offensively. As long as they keep Ivanans the hell away from Backlund I won't be too saddened.

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#31 Sincity1976
October 04 2010, 05:59PM
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Feaster made it clear that they needed a veteran person they could rely on to play top 6. I think you are going to see Backlund pushed to the third line come Thursday. Not such a bad thing though.

I would like to see him earn the second line through hard work rather then be handed it due to injury.

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#32 SmellOfVictory
October 04 2010, 07:45PM
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Ooooh, well I hope Backlund at least gets PP time. In other news, Backlund is going to be #11.

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#33 Calgary 6 Edmonton 0
October 04 2010, 09:43PM
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Just saw the interview with Feaster and its disappointing to hear the lack of confidence in Backlund. So by him moving Morrison in front of Backlund does that mean when Langkow and Stajan are healthy, Backlund moves to the farm?? Forget the fact that our prospects pool is very shallow to begin with, but if thats the case, Calgary doesn't deserve good prospects and should just continue to fish in the free agency pool instead. Frustrating!! I think the way the Flames are handling Backlund is going to stunt his growth and he will resent the Flames organization for it.

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#34 SmellOfVictory
October 04 2010, 10:55PM
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@Calgary 6 Edmonton 0

Publicly stating a lack of confidence in the little guy may not be the best idea, but if they can afford to, it's better not to throw him into the proverbial fire if he's not ready for it. I wouldn't be surprised if he's with the NHL team the entire season, though; first because Langkow is going to be a long time recovering, and second, I still have faith that he'll find a groove and at least outdo Morrison.

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#35 Calgary 6 Edmonton 0
October 04 2010, 11:11PM
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@SmellOfVictory

I don't mind the signing, in fact, I like it. This is great depth signing, but to state that he moves into a top 6 role has to be disheartening for Backlund. Feaster could have easily said "2nd line duty is up in the air" and created a competive environment inwhich Backlund and Morrison would have battled for. And isn't it the coaches job to determine who plays where and not the AGM?? Feaster went down a couple of notches in my book tonight.

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#36 SmellOfVictory
October 04 2010, 11:32PM
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Oh I totally agree. He shouldn't be messing too much with Backlund's confidence in such a way. As to who makes the line decisions, while the final say (and in-game decisions, obviously) may be up to the coach, I imagine the GMs have some input as well. They're in charge, after all.

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#37 CitizenFlame
October 05 2010, 12:40AM
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@JF

Wow, I bet you never thought you would say those words "Damnit, hurry up and heal Stajan."

If that doesn't just sum up the Flames predicament, then I don't know what does?

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#38 KingJafi
October 05 2010, 07:35AM
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This signing is not so bad...considering the amount of inexperience and incompetancy the Flames have at the center position now that everyone and their mothers are injured. Morrison is an established vet who will fit in just well with the other grandpas in the locker room like Conroy. I'm salty today...sorry...but I do like this signing.

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#39 icedawg_42
October 05 2010, 07:40AM
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I got the feeling from the Feaster interview that it was basically "back to the drawing board" with Langkow - basically sounds like he's stopped skating altogether. Also sounds like Morrison is slated to play top 6 - at least to start. Backlund will still get minutes to prove what he can do.

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#40 KingJafi
October 05 2010, 07:41AM
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@SmellOFVictory

Part of my frustration with everything that's going on is that Backlund has been thrust into legit playing time because a) we have no farm depth and b) all the centers Daz has brought in haven't done so well. I agree with you, its a good thing to state publicly that you don't have confidence in him because that is the truth of the matter. If the two items listed above and the slew of injuries at the center position hadnt happened, Backlund would be in Abbotsford no doubt. The kid was playing Division B hockey in Sweden a year and a half ago. Do you know how long it takes those guys to develop? I just don't think he's ready for a full season of NHL hockey and I think that if they did that to him they would absolutely stunt his progress.

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#41 Marcus
October 05 2010, 08:39AM
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Brendan Morrison, Canuck Killer. Likes the sound of that.

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#42 Graham
October 05 2010, 09:04AM
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Morrison's signing sounds like bad news for Backlunds hopes of staying in the NHL this year. Stajan returns, dropping Morrison to the third line, with Backlund going down to Abbotsford.

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#43 Kent Wilson
October 05 2010, 09:37AM
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Graham wrote:

Morrison's signing sounds like bad news for Backlunds hopes of staying in the NHL this year. Stajan returns, dropping Morrison to the third line, with Backlund going down to Abbotsford.

That's certainly possible. My assumption in the middle of August (when Langkow was skating) was that Backlund would play in Abby this year anyways.

That said, if the kid takes some kind of big step forward and starts knocking it out of the park, I doubt the team will demote him whenever everyone gets healthy.

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#44 MC Hockey
October 05 2010, 11:45PM
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HI all, You are all forgetting the FLames at 2.575 over the cap and the CBA does NOT allow that just because a 4.5M salary )(Langkow) is out. You can only "replace" the salaries for injured guys with new guys if you are already under the cap if you read CBA carefully. Big Flames salary dump move to come. I guarantee it by THursday.

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#45 Luc
October 06 2010, 09:43AM
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tangs jokes iggy

hagman stajan bourque

morrison backlund kotalik

glencross connie moss.

(dunno if works cap wise)

not to bad. GET RID OF THING 1 + 2

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