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Hudler/Brunner

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http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nhl--damien-brunner-might-be-the-latest-overlooked-european-to-make-it-big-with-the-red-wings-165028450.html

good article about Brunner

It came down to Detroit and Tampa Bay – and Holland and Holland’s protege, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, the Wings great who just so happened to be Brunner’s father’s favorite player. Brunner said his talk with Yzerman was the “most impressive meeting” he had ever had. He called Yzerman “awesome.” He said it took “courage” to tell him no.

Brunner signed a one-year, $925,000 deal with Detroit. Why the Wings? They had a good track record with European players. The coach had seen him play, not just the GM or the scouts, and it was the coach, the man who would actually control the ice time, offering an opportunity in the top six. He liked to shoot first, and the Wings had playmakers like Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Better yet, he was a right-handed shot, the Wings didn’t have a right-handed shot in their top six at that point, and Zetterberg and Datsyuk are left-handed centermen.

“It was a tough choice,” said Brunner, whose stall sits directly across from a framed photo of Yzerman at Joe Louis Arena. “But at the end of the day, I don’t think [Yzerman] can think bad about this organization.”

Zetterberg, knowing he would replace Lidstrom as captain this season, invited Brunner to live with him for a couple of weeks before training camp was supposed to open in September. He showed Brunner around, helped him get comfortable in Detroit. When the lockout began, Brunner headed back to Switzerland. As it dragged on, he teased Zetterberg with texts: “Hey, we need a good centerman.”

“He’s got 10 goals,” Babcock said. “If he gave me nothing on the other end and if he didn’t work at it and if when you met with him he wasn’t conscientious about what was going on, you wouldn’t [play him]. But he is. He’s a guy that’s getting better all the time.

“I’m always giving him a hard time about stopping on defense and knowing where his guy is. But pretty soon he’ll learn to stop and start. It’s just a matter of time. When you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing your whole life, it’s not going to be fixed in a week.”

amato, Echolalia and b.shanafan14 like this

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I like that last quote by Babs especially, maybe a few people on these boards need to read it. You know the ones, they think Brunner is a defenive liability and that he will never change and he blah blah blah. That quote by Babs is exactlt what I've been saying

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Let's see what happens after he signs a big fat extension.

This right here. Look no further than Franzens work ethic before his contract and after. You never know how consistent a player will be until after his contract year.

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This right here. Look no further than Franzens work ethic before his contract and after. You never know how consistent a player will be until after his contract year.

The signs were all there before the extension. He really got worse after it but it's not like he was ever truly skating hard at any point in this league.

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Sure, he's a liability but to say he hasn't improved in that category is wrong. He may lose track of his man and cut in, but lately he has been doing better. I'm not saying he's perfect but there's a learning curve present, as slight as the trajectory may be. On the forecheck he has been getting pressured more lately, and has been handling it better. He attempts to "finish" his checks and be aggressive to force the play on defenders in their zone. He wasn't doing that when he first came here. So in my opinion, he isn't too old. He is improving and can continue to improve.

I didn't imply he hasn't improved, rather, I meant to say his improvements were shallow.

For a real good laugh go read pretty much anything posted in the general hockey discussion area. I've seen some of the stupidest comments in my entire hockey following life posted there.

And Brunner isn't a liability on defense. A liability is someone like Patrick Kane who sees the puck in his own end, the other team possessing it in good position, and decides to just skate away from Pavel Datsyuk for a hypothetical breakout pass. Or Ilya Kovalchuk when he would just do figure eights by the blue line/neutral zone looking for a pass for a breakaway or odd man rush. Brunner backchecks and actually tries. He's not making the best reads compared to the rest of our team (still by far the best group of defensive forwards in the game) but he's back there trying and I've seen a few good plays from him.

Brunner has done all this, especially in the first few games. It didn't really click with Datsyuk, and I think that's why Babcock put Franzen on Brunner's side.

Good article indeed.

But turnovers have been a problem, and so has defense. Brunner has made mistakes. Bad ones. Like most Europeans who come to North America, he is used to circling and has to learn to stop and start. He has to learn the strict structure and defensive coverages of the NHL game. But Babcock has stuck with him.

Why is it so hard to address these issues?

I like that last quote by Babs especially, maybe a few people on these boards need to read it. You know the ones, they think Brunner is a defenive liability and that he will never change and he blah blah blah. That quote by Babs is exactlt what I've been saying

Did Babcock say Brunner needs to become better defensively or not? Yes. And Babcocks thinks he will. And I think Brunner needs to become massively better defensively, and I doubt he will. But only time will tell.

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Funny I didn't see those things. I'll go back and check if I've got some time. I'm curious, I want to get in on this early before this becomes a rep he can't shake. I've never seen him pull a Kane though and be covering a guy deep with the opposing team pressuring and just skate away while the guy directly in front of him still has the puck.

Edited by shoobiedoobin

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Did Babcock say Brunner needs to become better defensively or not? Yes. And Babcocks thinks he will. And I think Brunner needs to become massively better defensively, and I doubt he will. But only time will tell.

That's the thing though. He doesn't NEED to be massively better defensively. He just needs to be defensively sound. He needs to hold his responsibilities within the zone. He doesn't need to be Datsyuk, Zetterberg, or even Filp level of 2-way. He's a sniper. The franchise simply wants him to be defensively sound. Ovi isn't a defensive beast, Crosby is just finally learning how to play a decent 2-way game, Stamkos is basically on Brunners level defensively; he simply doesn't need to be a massive defensive workhorse.

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Brunner is working out well....I appreciate that we were chosen over another organization this time (unlike 2 or 3 guys last July) and it is nice that it is working out. I know it's gonna cost some bucks to re-sign him, but if he gets a 3-4 year deal and continues on this pace, that is around 40 goals a year, so he would be worth it. It's the contract AFTER he scores 40 a year for 4 years that I am worried about! YIKES!

Parise who?

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"Rough reviews"? Or "realistic"?

I've seen him play in the Swiss League. And I've seen every Wings game this season but two.

So he did get better throughout his games? I only partially agree. He's floating around a lot less, and shooting less. That's what makes him better now, compared to his first few games. He's still a sniper.

What hasn't changed? He's still a liability in the defense (currently, game-to-game, changing how big that liability it is).

As for "willing to learn at age 26": Brunner's got to surprise me here. AFAIK player's don't "learn" new behaviours at age 26 easily. For Brunner, this means he will never become any solid defensively, i.e. he will never effectively attack a player holding the puck, will never place an effective check in the offensive zone etc. He's too old to "learn" that, guys. His style is different. He's got his chance playing in the Swiss NLA by scoring terrific goals, and eventually they let him play with the best players on his line.

The outcome is Babcock, who lets him play with good working players (Z) also. Result: Brunner scores. But he's neither working hard for the team, nor solid defensively. Let's be realistic.

Btw, I hope Brunner scores 25+ this season.

Steve Yzerman

Edited by Number19
DSM and ogreslayer like this

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Steve Yzerman

Nah, Yzerman was 28 when Bowman took over coaching, so I guess it's just between the ages of 26 and 27 when you cannot learn anything new...

Euro_Twins likes this

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Brunner looked really solid defensively against the Kings imo. You can definitely see he's starting to figure out defensive zone coverage and such.

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Nah, Yzerman was 28 when Bowman took over coaching, so I guess it's just between the ages of 26 and 27 when you cannot learn anything new...

:hysterical:

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Nah, Yzerman was 28 when Bowman took over coaching, so I guess it's just between the ages of 26 and 27 when you cannot learn anything new...

Oh my bad. :ph34r:

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Hudler seems to have to cooled off from his big opening in Calgary too. After netting 4 goals and 5 assist in his first 8 games, he has only 1 assist in his last 7.

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Hudler seems to have to cooled off from his big opening in Calgary too. After netting 4 goals and 5 assist in his first 8 games, he has only 1 assist in his last 7.

That's normal for Hudler. Lights the world on fire a couple of games, then he diseappears completely.

That's one of the reasons Brunner atleast so far is looking like a vast improvement, he's less streaky.

Edited by dat's sick

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Brunner looked really solid defensively against the Kings imo. You can definitely see he's starting to figure out defensive zone coverage and such.

Looking at the first 30 minutes, I'd say it was one of his three best performances this season.

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