Vancouver Canucks go down memory lane, hand Brendan Morrison a tryout

morrisonhitbyhamrlik.jpgWhile the group is a faded memory for many, chances are that the principle characters of the Marc Crawford era Vancouver Canucks – Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrision and the coach himself – must look back at that time with a wistful eye. Once things fell apart and they disbanded, each person bounced around the league without truly sticking anywhere, with Naslund retiring, Crawford and Bertuzzi struggling and Morrison barely holding onto whatever hope of a career he still has. None could say that their hockey lives have improved since that band split up.

Perhaps it makes sense, then, that Morrison’s career has come full circle this off-season. After failing to click during single season stays with the Anaheim Ducks/ Dallas Stars (08-09) and Washington Capitals (09-10), the Canucks handed him an opportunity to earn a poorly paid spot in his old stomping grounds. News 1130 has the story.

Morrison will join the squad in Penticton, Saturday, for the start of camp and fight for a roster spot. The centre spent eight seasons with the Canucks, most notably as a part of the West Coast Express line with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, putting up 393 points in his Vancouver tenure.

With a good pre-season showing, the Canucks could offer the free-agent a contract, likely at the league minimum.

My guess is Morrison would be the team’s fourth center at best, as he ranks far behind Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra at this point in his career. He produced 42 points in Washington last year, but that was on a ridiculously over-powered squad that could probably pump up anyone’s offensive numbers. He’s not a great two-way forward, isn’t very big or physical and cannot do much in the faceoff circle, so his appeal is limited.

Will he be able to get by on anything beyond mere nostalgia? Good luck to him there.

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    Video: Things get heated before Lightning – Islanders Game 3

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    You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.

    The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.

    It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.

    You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:

    Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):

    Penguins bring up Sestito and Oleksy

    New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) fights with Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Tom Sestito (47) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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    The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.

    This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.

    Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.

    The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.

    Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.

    WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Islanders – Game 3

    New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) flights near the net with Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24),center,  and defenseman Victor Hedman (77), of Sweden, during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) falls on the ice. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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    The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3

    Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon

     

    Anisimov out six to eight weeks after undergoing ‘successful’ wrist surgery

    Chicago Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov tries to handle a rebound from Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.

    “We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.

    The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.

    Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.

    He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.

    In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.

    Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016