CHICAGO -- Welcome to the NHL, Jeremy Morin.
Playing in his third game after being recalled to take all-world forward Marian Hossa’s place in the lineup, Morin delivered in just about every way possible.
The only thing he didn’t do was score a goal. But his efforts created enough for his teammates, and he did get his first NHL assist, first NHL fight, and first set of NHL stitches.
“It shows he wants to be here and he’ll do anything to stay,” Patrick Sharp said. “You have to like the fire in him. He battles hard every shift. He’s not afraid of anybody, and we like that.”
Morin got the Hawks going with a hard forecheck, creating a turnover that led to a Tomas Kopecky goal to open the scoring for the Hawks.
“I tried to bring some energy into our line and go in hard on the forecheck and create turnovers on the defensemen,” Morin said after the game. “I was happy.”
And so was his head coach and anyone else watching the game for that matter.
“I thought he was influencing the first, couple, three goals with his positioning, with his forechecking, and I thought he was much better in this game than his two earlier games,” Quenneville said “He was a factor.”
Those two earlier games came at the beginning of November and were the first two of his career. He was the hotshot prospect in training camp who just missed making the team, but after Tuesday night he might be in Chicago to stay.
On the Hawks' second goal in the first period, it was Morin moving hard towards a Blues player that forced him to give up the puck quickly and into another turnover.
Two hustling plays but nothing to show for it on the score sheet.
But the hockey gods were watching. Morin earned his first NHL assist, after trying to dump the puck in and around the Blues net. Instead, it hit the boards and bounced right to the middle of the ice, in front of the crease, where Troy Brouwer tapped it in. Goalie Ty Conklin was behind the net waiting for the puck.
“I didn’t envision it getting it that way,” Morin said.
Nor did he envision getting into a fight in his third NHL game. Turns out, he and Chris Porter of St. Louis have a history.
“It was fun,” Morin said. “I fought him in the AHL too so I kind of knew who he was. I enjoyed it. It was fun. Definitely fun in front of the crowd.”
And what about the four stitches he was sporting across his nose after the game?
“Little ones,” Morin said. “He said he didn’t have time to put in nice ones.”
Tomas Kopecky had a career-high four points on a goal and three assists Tuesday night.
“Today was one of those games where the bounces were going our way,” Kopecky said.
Really? His behind-the-back pass to Jonathan Toews for the Hawks seventh goal was a lucky bounce?
“I just kind of saw Tazer going to the net and I checked my shoulder,” Kopecky explained. “Sometimes it looks better than it is. We kept it simple.”
It didn’t seem simple, though Toews said they were on the same wavelength.
“I think he saw me the whole way,” Toews said. “I think we were both on the same page. It was a pretty nice play."
Kopecky opened the scoring with a laser shot. It’s an underrated part of his game.
“I’ve been telling him the last couple games, ‘keep shooting,’” Toews stated. “He’s got one of the hardest shots in the league, for sure. If I had a shot like that I’d have 10-12 shots a game. He’s been really patient and hopefully this is the start of something for him.”
“Everybody is telling me to shoot more,” he said. “ [Patrick Kane] too. It’s a little harder when you are screening the goalie and facing the other way. I know I need to shoot more.”
His coach is taking notice of his play as well.
“I thought he had an excellent game in Los Angeles,” Quenneville said. “He was hard on the forecheck. Strong in the puck area. Nice play to Johnny [Toews]. It was an extension of his last game.”
And in keeping with his humble theme for the evening, Kopecky said he’s moving on to the next challenge.
“It’s nice but it’s behind me,” Kopecky said. “That’s what I do if we win or lose. I take five minutes after a game and move on to the next one.”
Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal two nights earlier in Los Angeles by crashing the net and said afterward he needs to do it more. He didn’t wait long.
“Sometimes I think when you’re not scoring goals, you have to do some different things to try and get the puck in those situations and try to get—I don’t want to say some easy goals—but some grinder goals. I think on both my goals I was trying to get to the net.”
Kane went right up the slot to receive a pass from Viktor Stalberg on his first goal and he was in the slot area again for a rebound tally on his second score. With three points on the night he’s moved ahead of a point per game average with 27 in 26 games.