Morrissey's Jets debut uneventful (that's good)
Where the anxiousness on Morrissey comes into play is how he’s progressing since the Jets drafted him
Typically, when a team circling the drain of a disappointing season announces the recall of a young player at this time of year, there's not much to it.
The club is either a) dealing with an injury situation; b) looking ahead to next year and the brass wants to see what it has in the system; or c) trying to get some big-league experience for a young player.
In the case of defenceman Josh Morrissey, it's all of the above.
Officially, the soon-to-be 21-year-old was recalled due to an upper-body injury to Jacob Trouba, who was unable to play.
With the Jets (27-32-5) down to just five defencemen, Morrissey, who had 22 points in 56 games with the Manitoba Moose, was really the only viable option in the AHL, and he got the call.
What makes the Morrissey promotion interesting is the context it comes under. His development, or rather the time it's taken him to find his way onto the NHL roster, hasn't come as quickly as some hoped for.
There is nothing wrong with this, of course. He's not even 21 yet. Young defenceman typically take longer to adjust to the speed and size of the pro game than forwards do. There's less margin for error back there.
Where the anxiousness on Morrissey comes into play is how he's progressing since the Jets drafted him, though. He didn't exactly light it up in his final year of junior last season, and this season with the Moose has fluctuated from struggling mightily to him understanding where his smooth, offensive game can be effective.
According to reports, he's kept an upbeat, positive attitude through the occasional highs and many lows this season.
This comes up a lot, for some reason, and is great if you're looking for someone to take your daughter to the high school dance.
Fair or not, people have a certain level of expectation on Morrissey — even at his young age. That's why this stint with the Jets, whether it's just a couple games or the rest of the schedule — has drawn so much interest from the fan base. No doubt every shift will be a referendum on what Morrissey is going to be.
That's the nature of crowd. They have no control.
Even the Jets seem to be tuned into this heightened curiosity on Morrissey. Speaking to reporters prior to Saturday's game, head coach Paul Maurice shared this simple message to his young defenceman: "You don't have to define your career every time you touch the puck tonight."
Clearly, the head coach is not on Twitter.
So how did Morrissey look? Paired with Tyler Myers, he went pointless in 15:54 minutes of ice time. More importantly, there weren't any glaring errors or any moments when he was in trouble or running around in his own zone.
As far as NHL debuts go, it was pretty steady. Which should suit everyone just fine.
Morrissey wasn't the only interesting piece of Jets news that came up Saturday.
On Sunday, the NHL will officially announce the Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Jets and the Oilers at Investors Group Field the weekend of October 22-23, 2016.
Besides the outdoor game, which comes a tad early into the NHL schedule compared to past editions thanks to stadium availability and weather concerns, the event will also feature an alumni exhibition.
Let the debate begin on what constitutes 'alumni' for the current Jets franchise, which came over from Atlanta in 2011.
If the Jets history (records, statistics, etc.) is tied to the Thrashers (much like the Arizona Coyotes carry the history of the original Winnipeg Jets franchise) wouldn't that include the former players, as well?
Of course, given that former Jets 1.0 great Dale Hawerchuk is scheduled to be at Sunday's press conference, the current Jets brass will frame this alumni game not as a call back to their own history but rather a celebration of the decades of professional hockey in these parts.
No surprise there. The current Jets haven't exactly embraced the fact they once played in another city.
While it makes sense as a corporate decision (True North has been trading off the old Jets brand from Day 1), ignoring the Thrashers past is a little sad. While the casual hockey fan hasn't (and will continue not to) care about this exclusion there is a small group of Jets followers who are interested in the back story of this franchise.
The history beyond the 2011-12 season.