It was a welcome sight for coaches and teammates Monday when Josh Morrissey took to the ice for Kelowna Rockets’ practise.
Instead of wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey, the 20-year-old defenceman was clad in a black jersey.
What it all means is that Morrissey is moving ever closer to a return to the Western Hockey League club’s lineup. The 6-foot, 190-pound Calgary native hasn’t played since Feb. 28 after suffering a leg injury.
While the exact date of Morrissey’s return remains in question, it seems likely he’ll be back well before the initial projection of April 20—perhaps as early as this weekend against the Victoria Royals.
“At least I’m out here,” Morrissey said after Monday’s practise. “A lot of things look OK but there’s still lots of work to be done so it’s tough to say exactly when, but if it was this weekend it would obviously be a nice thing to happen.”
After surviving the last five weeks on the back end without the services of the Winnipeg Jets’ draft pick, head coach Dan Lambert said it will be a nice bonus for the Rockets when Morrissey does make his return.
“Josh certainly is a guy we could use,” said Lambert. “He’s a guy that is a pretty special player when he’s playing.”
With the Rockets’ playoff run heating up, Morrissey is anxious to get back on the ice with his teammates. At the same time, he remains patient.
“It’s exciting, you can kind of taste it but you don’t want to rush it and come back too soon,” he said. “So I’ll try and do everything I can to get it as much rest as possible and continue the rehab process.”
Rockets’ forward Tyrell Goulbourne will return to the lineup Friday after missing two games with an upper body injury, while forward Justin Kirkland (lower body) remains sidelined on a day-to-day basis.