A few weeks after Josh Morrissey signed his eight-year contract extension with the Jets in September of 2019 the team designated the affable and well-spoken Alberta product as one of their alternate captains.
With the 2019 – 2020 NHL season on pause Morrissey took part in a conference call this morning and he was asked about being selected to wear a letter for the Jets. While it was clearly an honour it sounds like there was quite a bit of pressure on the top-pairing D-man when you factor in his new contract and all the departures on the Winnipeg blueline which added more responsibility on his shoulders.
“First of all it was a huge honour when I was told. I think at the start of the year, I’ve talked about it a lot throughout the season, I think there was a lot of new positions for me. Obviously signing a long-term deal, being an assistant captain and being in a different position with a new defence partner and all those kind of things. I don’t think any one thing particularly was a big change for me on a daily level but I think just sort of the sum of everything kinda coming at once. As soon as I realized ‘Your just playing hockey again’. You know what makes you good as a player. You were given the letter for a reason. I just realized be me, be myself, play my game, play the game that’s gotten me to this point in my life and my career. I started to just settle in and I felt from then on an improvement in my game.”
The fifth year pro has learned quite a bit from the current crop of Jets leaders (Wheeler, Scheifele, Little) as well as from those who have worn a letter in the past.
“As far as being part of the leadership group, you know the guys Blake and Mark and I think of guys like Bryan Little and some of the other veteran guys that have been around I’ve learned a lot from and it’s fun to have that responsibility and I take a lot of pride in it.”
When the Jets took to the ice in New York City to take on the Rangers to kick off the 2019 – 2020 regular season it was a clearly a memorable moment for Morrissey.
“For me it was cool, first game of the season having the ‘A’ on the jersey, that was something I will never forget. It’s such a huge honour and something I really feel comes with a lot of responsibility.”
On his interactions with the on-ice officials this season.
“I thought I was starting to get a little more respect from the refs and linesman. All of a sudden a few guys I maybe hadn’t talked to before knew me by my first name. I try to take the nice guy role. Mark (Scheifele) does the bad cop, I do the good cop and Blake (Wheeler) handles everything else.”
You can hear these comments and more from the nearly 30 minute conference call here.