Fifteen years later, Morrow gets another shot at the Cup

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TAMPA — Brenden Morrow is overjoyed with the opportunity the Tampa Bay Lightning have provided him. At 36 years old, he’s still in search of his first Stanley Cup ring, so he couldn’t be happier to be in his second final, 15 years after losing his first as a rookie with the Dallas Stars.

But as one of the veterans on a team full of young speedsters, he admits the practices have been a challenge for the old legs.

“It’s tough. They’re fast,” he said. “Father Time is catching up to me. To sit and watch them it’s a lot of fun, but when you’re practicing and you’ve got to chase them around, it’s pretty tough.”

Morrow was asked what’s changed to allow so many young NHLers to make such a big impact, compared to when he broke into the league.

“It’s probably the speed,” he said. “The clutching and grabbing’s all gone. The physical part, you may not have to be as developed now; you just have to be fast and quick and have good hockey IQ. That’s kind of what today’s game is getting to, that quick and speed game. I think those young legs really help.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Morrow was a front-line NHLer. In 2010-11, he had 33 goals for the Stars. He also played an “energy” role, to critical acclaim, for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics.

Today, he’s a depth forward who’s averaging just 8:57 of ice time in the playoffs.

Knowing how fast a career can go, he was one of the Lightning players who stood up at a team dinner before the playoffs to talk about what was coming up.

“I just kind of laid out my career, told them how lucky I was as a rookie but maybe didn’t understand the situation I was in,” Morrow said. “Fifteen years later, not being back, just to take advantage, because it takes a good team, but it takes a lot of luck and a lot of help along the way. So [don’t] let any opportunity pass you by.”