Morrow Retires a Star
My cameraman Fitz is still mad at me some ten years later. We were at the home of a local professional athlete doing a long form interview. As we were packing up the gear the player asked if we wanted to have a beer. He had already told us that he was going to the Cowboys Monday Night Football game that night. I didn’t want to delay his process so I politely declined.
Fitz was beside himself as we left. “Are you f-ing kidding me?” He continued, “We could have had a beer with Brenden Morrow!?!”
So as Brenden signed a one day contract so he could retire a Dallas Star and bid a tearful good bye to the game he loves yesterday, I thought of that day when I stood in the captain’s Highland Park living room and declined having a beer with him. Of course, I also thought of so much more. Like the bright eyed rookie in 1999 who joined a team that was poised to win the Stanley Cup. It was that year that he earned the nickname Mini-Mo. Not because he looked like Mike Modano, but because the youngster played like Mike. In those days every hockey player wanted to be like Mike and Brenden had an up close and personal view.
We learned more about the kind of player Brenden would become during the 2000 Stanley Cup run. As the Stars were trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champs, Morrow was establishing himself. Then in the playoffs he distinguished himself as a tough and selfless player. He actually broke a bone in his ankle during the playoff run but returned to play in an effort to help the team beat the New Jersey Devils in that year’s Cup Finals. It was that act of toughness and determination that began to show the Stars brass that within Morrow was the stuff that captains are made of.
He would not be awarded the “C” until the 2006-07 season, and it came shrouded in controversy. Management had decided that they needed a younger captain so they asked Brenden’s good buddy Mike Modano to surrender his captaincy and pass the C to Mini-Mo. Brenden handled the sketchy circumstances with the class and character of a captain. He could not (and would not) celebrate this seminal career moment as he might have because he felt so bad for Mo.
Brenden was traded to Pittsburgh in March of 2013. Since then he has spent some time with his former coach Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis, and last year in Tampa Bay. But no team had called this year so Brenden retires a Dallas Star. He finishes his career fifth in Stars history in games played, 835. He scored 245 goals which ranks him seventh all time, and he is eighth in points with a total of 528.
His career is book-ended by trips to the Cup Finals. The Stars in 2000 and last year the Lightening made it to the finals in Brenden’s swan song. He played 70 games with Tampa Bay scoring 8 points but also providing the same kind of veteran presence that his father-in-law gave the ’99 Stars. Guy Carbonneau was to that team what Brenden was to Tampa last year.
The memories of Brenden’s career are many. But as we say good-bye to Brenden Morrow the hockey player, I must admit, I feel old. I also find myself feeling thirsty. Brenden do you mind If Fitz and I take you up on that beer?