Hardcore fans of the Blackhawks are all too familiar with how head coach Joel Quenneville likes to bury players in his doghouse, and Jeremy Morin is a guy that finds himself stapled to the bench quite often when he is up with the Hawks. His defensive acumen has been criticized in the past by the Hawks’ boss, and his frequent demotions are made easier in the coach’s eyes by those breakdowns.
In recent games however, Morin has really begun to step up his defensive game. His advanced metrics are all up, and his discipline as he has bounced around the lineup because of injuries has been impressive.
Even if you don’t subscribe to the notion that these new metrics like Corsi and Fenwick can tell fans what they need to know about a player, Morin has been acing the eye test as well. As an example, Morin made a tremendous read on a play in the offensive zone during the win over the Wild that directly led to Bryan Bickell’s go-ahead goal in the third period.
On the play, Peter Regin lost a face-off, and the Wild were beginning to work the puck around the zone. While Regin dropped back into coverage, Morin launched forward and aggressively forechecked the puck carrier, stealing the puck and setting up the play. After a brief moment with the puck, Morin pushed a pass across the middle of the ice to Bickell, whose second chance opportunity beat Ilya Bryzgalov to make it a 2-1 game.
That willingness to jump in and pursue the puck despite Regin losing the draw is something that Quenneville constantly preaches to his forwards, and Morin followed those lessons to a T on that play. If he can continue to show that kind of aggressiveness and discipline, then it’s going to be hard for Quenneville to remove him from the lineup even with guys like Teuvo Teravainen and Matt Carey in the press box.