Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brother Act

In the history of the National Hockey League, there have been well over 200 pairs of brothers who have participated in competition. We are all aware of the Hull's and Esposito's. Also, there are the champions of the brother acts - the Sutter's - Brian, Darryl, Duane, Brent, Rich, and Ron.

Then, there are the lesser known combinations like Don and Rod Morrison from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The 1947-48 season was the first step in the Detroit Red Wings march to NHL superiority. New coach Tommy Ivan created a first line that would ultimately lead to 4 Stanley Cups in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955. With second year forward Gordie Howe at his disposal, Ivan teamed him with Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay. The three became the Wings main offensive force and were nicknamed the Production Line.

In goal for Detroit was Harry Lumley. On March 10, 1948 he became the first Wings goalie to record 30 wins in a single year. The Detroit squad had the 1948 Calder Trophy winner in Jimmy McFadden.

The '47-48 Red Wings finished second in the NHL standings. In the playoffs, they lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup final.

With talent galore on the roster, Don and Rod Morrison both managed to crack the Detroit line-up in 1947-48. Rod Morrison was called-up during a Wings losing streak in mid-December 1947. Also, called-up from Indianapolis were Fernand Gauthier and Marty Pavelich.

The two Morrison brothers played on a line with Jim Conacher. In 47-48, Don Morrison, playing centre, got into 40 games with Detroit. He scored 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points. Brother Rod, a right winger, played in 34 games recording 8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points.

With an abundance of power in the Detroit line-up, you would think the task of gaining recognition would be difficult for the Morrison brothers. Well, they certainly were prominent in a game played on January 25, 1948.

Fighting for top spot in the standings, 2 weekend games against the Habs were crucial. In the Saturday contest, Rod Morrison scored the winning goal in a 5-1 victory. The re-match on Sunday the 25th at the Olympia was a much tighter game. On the strength of a Don Morrison goal with assits going to Rod Morrison and Conacher, the Wings won 1-0.

The 2 points allowed Detroit to gain the number one ranking. They would finish 5 points behind Toronto, but 13 points ahead of third place Boston in the final standings.

Don Morrison would play for Detroit in 1948-49, then be traded to Chicago in the summer of 1950. His NHL career came to an end after the 1950-51 season. He played one additional year of hockey with the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey League. Morrison retired at the age of 28.

After his one year with the Detroit Red Wings, Rod Morrison spent 2 years with the Indianapolis Capitols in the AHL. He retired at the close of the 1950-51 campaign.

The game on January 25, 1948 sure was one for the Morrison family scrapbook.

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