After all the advice from his dad and all his mom's driving and cooking, after the long drills with his Czech coach, after brilliant consecutive years in junior hockey and the third Swiss league, Damien Brunner plateaued.

It was 2008. Brunner played with Kolton, the foremost developer of young talent in the Swiss Nationalliga A. And, at 22, he got lost in the shuffle.

"In my second year and the beginning of the third year at Kolton, the coach didn't see me on his roster or in an offensive role," said Brunner, who is tied for the Red Wings team lead with five goals and is second in shots with 34, as the team toils in a transitional year.

"He thought I am not making any progress and I probably wasn't going to be good enough to play in that league.

"They sent me down to the B league for three games, and after that, I was traded."

Then, with the considerable help of a former Red Wings player, whose brief stint in Detroit is likely to be overshadowed by coaching Brunner for five years, his career took off.