Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Six-Foot-Seven Morin Could Be Huge for Canada's World Junior Team

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Six-Foot-Seven Morin Could Be Huge for Canada's World Junior Team

Article excerpt

Six-foot-seven Morin could be huge for Canada

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While rehabbing a broken jaw in Philadelphia recently, Samuel Morin wasn't allowed to eat solid foods for a month. The 19-year-old defenceman drank a lot of smoothies and some less appetizing meals.

"Steak in a blender, chicken in a blender, everything in a blender," Morin said. "It was disgusting. Awful."

Morin's diet is solidified again and so is his life. He's back playing hockey and at six foot seven brings an element of size and strength to Canada's world junior hockey team that no one else can provide.

"He's not an easy player to play against in the corner," coach Benoit Groulx said at the team's pre-tournament camp in St. Catharines, Ont. "We need that presence on the back end that can make a big difference in tight games because when you look at this tournament it's all about winning battles in corners, winning battles in front of the net, and I think he's got the size and the stick and he's smart enough to get that done."

Morin, a first-round pick of the Flyers in 2013, came closer than most thought to making the NHL club out of training camp. Sent back to Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Morin suffered a fractured jaw when he took a one-timer from the Remparts' Kurt Etchegary to the right side of his face.

That was Oct. 12 in his fifth game of the season. Morin remembers everything about the play.

"Oh my God, worst injury I ever had," Morin said. "One-timer straight in the face, you don't see that a lot. Sometimes it deflects, but that was straight in the face. It just destroyed my jaw. I had no time (to react)."

After his steak-in-a-blender period, Morin returned five weeks later but with a full face shield. The St-Henri, Que., native had to think twice about what he did.

"My game changed in junior because when someone boarded me I cannot say, 'You want to fight?' I can't do my tough guy (act) anymore," Morin said. "For sure it changed a little bit of my game, but here (at the world juniors) I cannot fight so it changes nothing."

Morin doesn't need to fight to be an imposing force for Canada. He wants opponents to see his size on the roster and think twice when they go into the corners with him. …

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