Fictional baseball legend Roy Hobbs had the Wonderboy bat. Derek Morris has the Synergy blade. Its resurrection could fast become the stuff of legend. As the story goes, Morris was looking over some of his old statistics this offseason with his boys, Traiten, Presley and Asher, when they asked why he no longer puts up big numbers. Morris was stumped and a little embarrassed, but around the same time he got a call from an Easton rep alerting him that the Synergy blade he had used during his 48-point season in Colorado in 2002-03 was being remade. "I had my best year with it so when he asked if I wanted some I said 'let's do it,'" Morris said. The blades were tailored to Morris's myriad specifications, shipped off to the Valley and took the ice when the Coyotes opened the season. Twelve games in, and having missed two games due to injury, Morris is tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in points with four goals and five assists, including the goal that sliced Nashville's lead to 3-2 on Thursday -- the goal coach Dave Tippett credited with changing momentum in his team's 5-4 shootout win. "The blade is soft so when pucks come I can stop 'em and set 'em up to shoot 'em," said Morris, who blasted an absolute bomb past Predators goalie Carter Hutton. "I'm not like Keith Yandle or (Oliver Ekman-Larsson) where I can create a whole bunch of things. I rely on getting pucks to the net and looking for tip shots. I have to get rid of the puck quick." The Coyotes expect Yandle and Ekman-Larsson to contribute offensively. The two are tied for the league-lead among NHL defensemen with 11 points apiece. But when Phoenix gets consistent contributions from Morris, they get the situation that currently exists. Phoenix defensemen have 12 goals and 40 points this season, the top mark in the NHL in both categories. "We ask our defensemen to get one shot each period, so that's six shots a period and 18 from our blueline in a game," said Coyotes assistant Jim Playfair, who coaches the defense. "We figure that will create a lot of scoring chances and lately, a lot of them have been going in." There was a time when this was expected of Morris. Drafted 13th overall by Calgary in 1996, Morris made the NHL All-Rookie team in 1998 with nine goals and 20 assists, creating aspirations that even he admits fueled him to pursue big points.
Wisdom and wood produce synergy for Coyotes' Morris
Fox Sports Arizona | Nov 2