Morrison to Europe; defenseman/goalie updates.

There were no new defensemen in practice, so the Reign roster had find another way to fluctuate Tuesday.

Jordan Morrison, who led the Reign in scoring last season, informed coach Jason Christie yesterday that he was leaving for the Erste Bank Eishockeyliga (First Bank Ice Hockey League), the top league in Austria. That’s about all we know right now; I spoke to Morrison briefly and he’s still got a few loose ends to tie up here. Check out tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin for more.

Morrison had no points and a minus-3 rating in three games this season.
He never seemed totally comfortable in Christie’s system and was squeezed out of
the center rotation (his natural position) by C.J. Stretch, Francois
Brisebois, Bill Bagron and newcomer Matt Tassone. Last season, Morrison rode a strong second half to finish with 20 goals and 55 points in 71 games.

The 25-year-old becomes the second player to head overseas since the season began. Defenseman Travis Gawryletz was the first.

Justin Taylor, who played 41 games for the Reign last season, also plays in the Austrian league for Ljubljana Olimpija HK.

A few more notes from practice:

  • Actually, there was a new defenseman. Sort of. Pat Bowen skated for an
    hour, up from the 25 minutes he was on the ice Monday. Bowen has been
    sidelined since Oct. 9 with a lower-body injury, so his was basically a new face. He hasn’t been cleared for contact and has “no idea” whether he’ll be available for Friday and Saturday’s games against Stockton and Colorado, respectively.
  • Defenseman Eddie DelGrosso, who was claimed off waivers, still hasn’t reported to Ontario. “He’s got an injury, or he’s claiming he has an injury, from Vegas,” Christie said. “Whenever he feels like he can come out, he can come out.” In the meantime, DelGrosso remains suspended by the team.
  • Four goalies remain on the roster. Tuesday’s practice — a long one — was the most work Jase Weslosky and Dustin Carlson have gotten since last Thursday. Christie said he’s still trying to find trading partners for both goalies but the demand is low right now.
  • Defenseman Phillippe Seydoux still doesn’t have his P-1 visa and said he might have to drive to Vancouver to get it.
  • Here’s how they skated in practice:

    Geoff Irwin-C.J. Stretch-Derek Couture
    Matt Tassone-Francois Brisebois-Brady Calla
    J.D. Watt-Bill Bagron-Chris Cloud/Shayne Neigum

    Dylan Yeo-Mike Montgomery
    Steven Tarasuk-J.P. Cote
    Philippe Seydoux-Vincent LoVerde

This entry was posted in Ontario Reign/ECHL and tagged , , , , by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.
  • sect122fan

    Players leaving and others not wanting to report to Ontario.
    WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE ORGANIZATION?

  • Anonymous

    Is this new “system” that hard to learn?

    Coach said he wants a tough team though we need more physical play in our zone.

    Why is it that he wont help our returning players better fit into the system? Is there something else going on or is he just leaving players hanging in the wind?

    What will we do with only 5 D-men?
    Bowen doesnt seem to be a fit with a mobile or physical system.

    What is the latest with Van and Fredricks? Freddy seems to have the skills we need and Van is supposed to be a physical guy.

    Will we be keeping both goalies or flat out releasing them?

    What about Cloud and Neigum will we keep both of them also?

  • J.P. Hoornstra

    1. Most systems are fairly straightforward. The more pertinent questions are, a, how does this system fit a player like Morrison and, b, how different is it from the system(s) he’s used to playing? It seemed to me that Morrison was playing farther away from the net than Christie would have liked to see from a center. Now, not all centers have a nose for the net (Anze Kopitar is one example), but Bill Bagron, Francois Brisebois and Matt Tassone do. C.J. Stretch only sort-of does at best, but he was winning a larger percentage of his draws than Morrison, so Christie switched Morrison to the wing. Morrison prefers to play center. That’s probably a better explanation of why he was slower “fitting in” with the system, rather than an inability to grasp X’s and O’s.

    2. Christie is helping everyone fit into the system. It’s just that the guys who have played the system before (under him, like Cloud and Bagron, or under someone else) are picking it up quicker.

    3. I don’t think Christie is leaving players hanging in the wind. I think part of what you’re seeing is an ECHL thing, and that conclusion is based on the precedent Karl Taylor set on a couple occasions. Remember Ryan Card and Eric Doyle? They weren’t bad ECHL defensemen, but Taylor chose to cut them rather than be patient getting them up to speed when they came off IR in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Card and Doyle’s only mistake was getting injured at the beginning of a season when the team was off to a slow start. Since players are on week-to-week contracts, and the coach’s contract is for 2 years, guess who’s rope is shorter? That’s what’s going on. Christie probably isn’t inclined to patience when the team is 1-2-0.

    4. They’ll probably stick with 5 D-men this weekend, knowing that Bowen is close to returning, Seydoux’s a good player who’s close to getting his visa, and DelGrosso’s situation is unresolved.

    5. Van de Mosselaer: I asked Christie about him last Thursday; he said a mid-November return is still expected. Fredricks: Still in crutches. Also looking at mid-November.

    6. Christie is trying to trade the goalies not named Berube or Kuemper. Since both are getting paid, they probably won’t ask to be released unless they can find work somewhere else.

    7. I haven’t heard that either Cloud or Neigum is getting moved, so they’re both here for now.

  • Anonymous

    If coach wants more physical play in our own end, Vandemosselaer will deliver. Have you seen some of his hits youtube? He was one of the toughest guys in the WHL.

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