There have been nights in the past few seasons where Josh Morrissey has admitted that becoming an NHL All-Star was a distant idea.
Morrissey was doing the best he could on the ice that night. On the ice, she was diagnosed with cancer with her father Tom in the summer of 2020, and less than a year later she passed away.
When Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness called the 27-year-old into his office on Thursday, he was thrilled to announce that he will be participating in next month’s All-Star Game for the first time in his NHL career. in Florida.
“Obviously, careers have their ups and downs,” Morrissey said Friday. “Whether it’s your entire career or the last few years for me. I’m not too far off from some tough seasons with family things going on. Being an All-Star seemed pretty far away at that point.
“So it’s just rewarding to go to work and have people around you support and help you and be rewarded for the recognition. ”
Bowness knew from his days in Dallas that Morrissey could not only be an All-Star, but win the Norris Award for best defense in the league, but Tom was always confident his son could reach stardom. was
“He’s not here to see this,” Morrissey said. “He always thought I could achieve in this league, so it meant a lot to me to know what he was looking at. A lot of emotions came from that.”
Bowness’s arrival in Winnipeg unlocked many of these pieces.
Whether it’s at the team level, the winning structure he’s put in place, or the player level, how effectively communicate with so many players like Marc Scheifel and get the biggest out of them. Bowness’ fingerprints are scattered all over the top, perhaps at the bottom of the roster.
Morrissey tops that list.
In 38 games as an All-Star, Morrissey has already posted career-highs in points and assists, keeping pace for a 90-point season.
Bowness encouraged and challenged Morrissey ahead of the 2022-23 season, suggesting to the blueliners that he could be a Norris contender with the skills he possesses.
“I don’t think I would have had the opportunity without his encouragement, the style of play he’s adopted here and the whole staff,” Morrissey said. “It was so cool that Bones delivered the message. I think it was a perfect fit.”
The 67-year-old admitted on Friday that Morrissey exceeded even his expectations.
“I’m very proud of him, and he should be very proud of himself.” It’s what we want to do, and he won’t be happy with it, he’s very excited and very proud of what he’s accomplished, but ultimately, we’re here I know we will continue to push it forward in. We just keep getting better and better.
“For him and his family, he was certainly pretty excited.”
Meanwhile, Morrissey hopes an NHL fan vote will ensure that at least one of his deserving teammates travels with him on weekends hosted by the Florida Panthers.
“We’re off to a great start as a team. It doesn’t happen with just one or two or a few members,” Morrissey said. “It’s about a complete team. Sure, there are a lot of guys having great years. I’d love to see multiple jets out there.
“Let’s see how it goes. Hopefully the Jets fans will endorse it. This is my first game so I need a few people who have been there before to show me the ropes.”
Bowness hits coaching milestone
Bowness had no plan B.
“I wasn’t smart enough to come up with a plan B,” he said with a laugh. “Was it hockey or nothing?”
Luckily, Bowness didn’t have to know what life would be like without the games he cherishes.
On Friday, Bowness was behind the bench in the NHL for the 2,600th time as a coach (head, associate, assistant) against the Tampa Bay Lightning. NHL records continue to grow.
“I love games. I love games,” he said. “That’s it. I’m just passionate about the game.”
Friday’s game was No. 677 as head coach, and he spent the remaining 1,923 games assisting a number of teams, including the Jets’ first iteration (where he also served as head coach), along with the New York Islanders. Dallas Stars.
He also served as an associate head coach for the Lightning and the Vancouver Canucks. Bowness’s head coaching duties also include his Boston Bruins, Ottawa his Senators, and the Stars.
“I know I’m not the smartest coach. I never try,” he said. “I try to do the best I can every day. I love working with players I love watching them improve I love seeing my team improve I just love the game it drives me It’s something.”
And he never took it for granted for a single moment.
“And I never will until the day I retire,” he said. “I still love it, and we plan to keep kicking.”
The chances of a waver casualty or two are always high.
The first came on Friday as the San Jose Sharks claimed spirited forward Michael Eishmont after the Jets waived him on Thursday.
Winnipeg needed to make room with Blake Wheeler, Nikolai Ehlers and Nate Schmidt back in the lineup against the Lightnings.
Janssen Harkins passed waivers earlier this week and was reassigned to the Manitoba Moose, while Christian Rachel received waivers and was demoted on Thursday.