Stars captain Brenden Morrow has been a thorn in the side of the Kings since entering the league in 1999. He had four points in his first three games against Los Angeles (two goals, two assists) and he’s never really slowed down.
When the teams last met on March 7, he even had the game-winning goal – bringing his career total against the Kings to 20 goals in 68 games – just one fewer than his career best 21 goals against the Sharks.
So, what is it about facing an LA team that brings out the best in him?
“There’s always been a bit of a rivalry for us since the days of Dave Tippett being here – ex-coach, and knowing he wanted to win every game against his ex-team,” said Morrow. “So, for me, that became a rivalry back then.”
What about now, with a chance to play the defending Stanley Cup champions?
“I think the lockout probably took some of that away from them,” he said. “From day one it wasn’t a target on their back. Everyone was more concerned about themselves. But, now we’re playing a hot team and they’re looking like the defending Stanley Cup champs and making it tough on people.”
Since losing their last game vs. the Stars, the Kings have posted a 5-2 record and outscored their opponents 26-16. Meanwhile, Dallas has gone 1-4-1, with their only victory coming against Calgary on Monday.
Yet, tonight will mark the first of four meetings between the Kings and Stars over the next month.
“We would have preferred to play them when things weren’t going as well (for them),” Morrow remarked. “But, we’re going to see and get to know a lot of them over the next few weeks. They’re going to be very important points and this is a tough team. We always seem to have a tough time with them too, especially in this building.”
With the NHL trade deadline right around the corner, the Stars still remain a bit of a mystery. While it’s still not clear if they’ll be buyers or sellers, Morrow admitted to being a little surprised by the team’s recent trade of Michael Ryder for Erik Cole.
At the same time, he couldn’t be happier with their off-season addition of Ray Whitney.
“He’s a great locker room presence,” Morrow explained. “He’s 40-something, with all that experience – just the wit he has, and the one-liners – he’s able to loosen guys up, or put the hammer down when he thinks they need it. With this team, and all the youth we have here, it’s good to have him in the line-up.”
As he approaches unrestricted free agency this coming summer, Morrow is starting to think about his own future and how much longer he’ll be playing the game of hockey. Could he see himself still going strong at 40?
“No, not a chance,” he said with a chuckle. “I got, what am I, 34? I’m on the 34-year old plan I think. My numbers through the years are going down. I think I play a little different game than Ray too.”
Both have been Kings killers throughout their careers.
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