Chicago Sun-Times

Instead of joining Team USA, Morin could stick with Hawks

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morin1.jpgThe Blackhawks might have a dilemma on their hands with Jeremy Morin in the near future if their injury situation doesn't improve.

Morin, 19, has been loaned to Team USA for the upcoming 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, but Patrick Kane will still be out of the lineup when their training camp starts on Dec. 17.

Morin was part of the 2010 team that defeated Canada for gold in Saskatchewan, recording two goals, seven points and a plus-4 rating in seven games.

"That's something that organizationally I don't think we've discussed to that extent," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Right now we'll see how it all plays out. If you ask players where they'd rather be, when they get to the NHL ,it's a pretty good challenge and a chance to be at this level.

"I would say most players would probably want to play in the NHL, especially if it's their first crack or initial opportunity. At the time organizationally, you have to look at how much he's playing and if it is going to be better for him long-term to get that once-and-a-lifetime chance."

There's no denying that Morin has been impressive at times with the Hawks. He also doesn't mind being the latest prospect to take part in the back and forth drives from Rockford as the Hawks manage the salary cap and limit his cap hit.

"I've talked to a lot of the guys and a lot them have been through it," Morin said Wednesday. "It's not bad. I really can't complain."

Morin's progress and the looming returns of Marian Hossa (lower) and Fernando Pisani (upper) would impact the Hawks' decision. Morin still sees this as his chance to stick with the Hawks. If he starts to consistently produce offensively, the Hawks would be hard-pressed to let him go.

"Playing with these guys, all I can do is develop my game into becoming a better player," Morin said. "That's what I'm trying to do. You try to prove your game is coming along and hopefully you stick."

But he also knows how important this tournament is for Team USA.

"It's a big opportunity for USA hockey in general to maybe [win] back-to-back [gold medals]," Morin said. "We've never done that before. It's definitely a big year for us.

"It's a great tournament. Last year, winning the gold and this year it's in Buffalo on your home soil, it will be a great experience. We'll kind of see what happens."

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.


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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on December 8, 2010 6:42 PM.

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