If Damien Brunner was a typical first-year NHL player he might be the front-runner for the Calder Trophy. But, he is not your standard newcomer to this league. He's older (26), more mature, more seasoned from having played professionally at a high level in Switzerland for several years. That is why he doesn't qualify for the rookie of the year award. It is also why he has made such a smooth transition to the North American style of hockey. Brunner's first multiple-point game is one he won't soon forget. He scored two goals and assisted on two more to lead the Detroit Red Wings to an 8-3 thrashing of the Vancouver Canucks Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. “It is amazing,'' Henrik Zetterberg, Brunner's linemate, said. “I played with him over in Switzerland and I saw that he has that special touch. You don’t see him for a long, long time and all of a sudden he comes up there and scores a goal. “He has that kind of sense to be in the right spot at the right time, and he has a good shot.'' Brunner leads the team with 10 goals and has 16 points. Told he was two goals away from the league lead, Brunner said, “I am? I have to be honest, since I got here I feel like I have no time to study the stats, because I’m always sleeping and recovering and eating.'' The Red Wings (9-7-3) have won in impressive fashion in back-to-back nights, following a five-game winless skid (0-3-2). Roberto Luongo was coming off a 1-0 shutout at Nashville Friday and entered the game with a 1.45 goals-against average. But Detroit lit him up for a season-high three power-play goals in the second period to take a 5-3 lead and continued pouring it on in the third. Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and two assists – the second three-point game in a row for Kronwall. Rookie Joakim Andersson scored the game's final two goals. Daniel Cleary had a goal and an assist. Jordin Tootoo scored a goal. Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Ericsson each had a pair of assists.
Red Wings' Damien Brunner flourishing in NHL due to his maturity, Swiss experience and skill level
Michigan Live | Feb 25