Brenden Morrow wasn’t sure if a return to Dallas would ever be possible, but Thursday afternoon the 37-year-old signed a one-day contract with the Stars so he could announce his retirement with the team he led so proudly for the bulk of his career.
Over the past few seasons, Morrow had bounced around the league chasing an elusive Stanley Cup championship. He’d gone from a rental in Pittsburgh to full-time grinder in St. Louis and Tampa Bay. But with his body telling him its had enough, Morrow knew his retirement was coming, and he said he had hoped he would be able to end his playing days as a Star.
“I knew I wasn’t a Mike Modano or a Hall of Famer,” Morrow said. “So I wasn’t sure if that was something that was going to be in the cards. I feel very fortunate that I had this opportunity.”
It’s fitting that Morrow retires in Dallas, too, considering he was one of the faces of the franchise for nearly a decade during the heyday of his career. He’ll tell you himself that he was never the most skilled player, but he did things his way and he became a fan favorite in Dallas.
“I learned early on I wasn’t going to fit a certain mould,” Morrow siad. “There was a style of game I needed to play to not only be in the league but to have success. I got to learn that early in my career from the great veterans, guys like Mike Keane and Guy Carbonneau. That grit I think sometimes lifts your teammates just like a big play or a big goal does. That compete forces everyone else to.”
Morrow’s years in Dallas were no doubt his best, but when his contract was coming up in 2012-13, he moved on from the Stars in order to pursue the Stanley Cup. He stands by his decision, and knows that it happened because of a tough situation in Dallas. Morrow said he doesn’t have regrets about the decision, but he does wish he would have been able to actually hoist the Cup in any of those final three attempts.
“That’s the only thing disappointing about it,” Morrow said. “I mean, we did get close, but I can’t say that I’m sitting here wishing that I did anything differently.”
Morrow retires as one of the Stars’ top scorers of all-time, but of all the goals, assists and big moments throughout his career, Morrow said it’s the time with teammates, including playing with his idol Brett Hull, that will stand out the most. Well, that and the 2008 run to the Western Conference final, a run which saw Morrow score two overtime game-winners against the San Jose Sharks, including a series-winning goal that came midway through a fourth overtime period.
“That San Jose series feels like yesterday and it was eight years ago that happened — the quadruple overtime game,” Morrow said. “I don’t know if I will forget that particular game because it seems time stood still for us.”
But now that his playing days are over, Morrow has to make his way out of the game, and he’s unsure of what that will mean. He told reporters his plan is to spend some time with his family — his wife and three children — and maybe hit the links a few times. As for getting back into the game as a coach, advisor or a member of the Stars’ staff, Morrow said he still loves the game, but he’s unsure of where or how he would fit into an organization.
“I love living here in Dallas,” Morrow said. “But I’m not sure where that road will lead. I’ll just let the cards fall where they do.”
What he does know is that his playing days are through, and he made that official with a tearful goodbye. But if he had one final wish for his career? It’s not a Cup he wants. It’s for Stars fans to remember the way he played and to feel as though he never once cheated them.
“I played every shift like it was my last, I left it all out there,” Morrow said. “For me personally I can retire with no regrets knowing I did everything every night to help my team win. I hope and feel like the fans here saw that and appreciate that, and I thank them for it.”