I should be studying for a test I have in a few hours. So naturally I took to twitter and engaged in a debate about which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is the best. How so many people can pick Donatello over Michelangelo is beyond me and frankly, makes me lose a bit of faith in humanity. The next logical step in my though process, of course, I got to thinking about Damien Brunner.
I honestly don’t know what to think of the guy. And I’ll preface this with letting you know that I’m an incredibly pessimistic individual, particularly when it comes to my beloved Detroit Red Wings. I haven’t had a whole lot of faith in the team since 2010, especially in a year like this. This isn’t to say that I don’t take delight in being completely wrong, like after the 8-3 stomping of Vancouver on Sunday. I’m quite pleased to see Detroit not in a competition for the 1st overall pick and Seth Jones. It also means I’m rarely disappointed. I feel it’s important to note that just because I see lot’s of negatives doesn’t mean I don’t love my team and it’s players.
That being said, never sure what to make of Brunner. On the one hand, did great in Switzerland, competing hard, 10 goals in 19 games is nothing to sneeze at, and he’s fitting in really well. On the other hand… skeptical.
He’s doing fantastic in his first year in the NHL. Which seems to happen to a lot of guys. Can you remember some guys who had wonderful rookie years only to regress a bit afterwards? (Jimmy Howard was a Calder Trophy nominee and hasn’t really returned to that level since his rookie year, though he continues to give the wings a chance to win most nights and what more do you need from a netminder? He missed out on the Calder Trophy when it went to Tyler Myers, and well… yeah, there’s that.)
(Also, want to hear a funny joke? Steve Mason)
There’s a lot to be said for a player in his first year of NHL competition and who he ends up playing with. Landeskog was probably considered a lock for the Calder last year because of the quality of his linemates was significantly lower than RNH or Henrique. That being said, Brunner is playing with the Eurotwins (triplets?). You can look back at my previous blog stories to see the quality player I am not, and I’m fairly certain that if I spent part of the year playing with Z and Datsyuk, I would probably have a goal to my name. Maybe even two… ok let’s not get crazy here. Point is, some players have the ability to make those around them considerably better, and I have no doubt that Zetterberg has that ability. So it’s tough to tell if Brunner is the real deal, or he’s simply a product of high quality teammates and an even higher quality coach.
Which is to say nothing of Mike Babcock. Guy gets passed over on a yearly basis for the Jack Adams because he has a fantastic team most years, but you have to believe he’s one of the best in the league for knowing what to do with a guy like Brunner, be he product of his environment or diamond in the rough.
By no means am I suggesting we test Brunner by putting him on a line with Sammuelsson and Cleary and seeing if his goal production continues or anything. I’m simply saying, it’s tough to make heads or tails of him at this point.
I don’t know. What do you think?
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