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Legends Describe Ken Morrow, Honored by the Islanders Saturday

No more beard. Still just as tall.
No more beard. Still just as tall.

Saturday's game and Ken Morrow's induction into the New York Islanders Hall of Fame, is an afternoon game, so we'll get this one up a little early.

The people who played with and coached Morrow (and hopefully more of you who watched him with grown-up eyes) can say it best (videos below, but great stuff from his college coach Ron Mason here). As a silly kid, I just remember Morrow as a tall, bearded blueliner who kept things simple (or so it appeared) and enabled Denis Potvin, the top-scoring defenseman of all time, to do his thing.

What I didn't know as a clueless young tyke was just how much Morrow was respected, and just how much he played through injury (reportedly having knee surgery in mid-postseason at least once). From that New York Times piece in 1983:

While Morrow's teammates were in Boston late Wednesday, he was lying on a table at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, as another piece of cartilage was removed from his right knee. ''I was staring at the clock the whole time,'' he said. Less than 70 hours later, Morrow was on the ice at Nassau Coliseum, his presence helping the injured Islander defense in the sixth-game victory that ended the semifinal playoff series against the Bruins.

Later in the same piece:

Some swelling restricted his motion, so fluid was removed after the warmup. The last barrier, the mental one, was next. ''That's the big thing, your mind,'' Morrow said. ''Many times, that's what's stopping you. So I tried to go in the corners and get into the rough stuff.''

Morrow was not pleased with his game. He was on the ice for the first two Boston goals. ''Which is something I gauge my play on,'' he said.

Morrow was one of the early beneficiaries of arthroscopic knee surgery, and also another in the tradition of hockey players getting sewn up and going right back out there.

A key but quiet part of the USA 1980 Olympic gold medal winners, of all four Islanders Stanley Cup wins and of all 19 consecutive playoff series victories, the Islanders honor #6 Saturday. Here's what the man himself and some of his contemporaries said about him.

Note: Also catch this five-part interview at the Islanders TV site.

Ken Morrow on the Development of His Playing Style

"Believe it or not I was an offensive defenseman in college ... I became a defensive defenseman not by design."

Denis Potvin on Ken Morrow

"We divide the ice, and you take care of your side, I'll take care of mine. And of course when you get the puck you gotta give it to me, Kenny."

Mike Bossy on Ken Morrow

Hockey Scribe Stan Fischler on Ken Morrow

Cheers to #6 on a long overdue honor.