The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/09/13 at 03:51 AM ET
The question I've heard the most regarding Red Wings forward and 26-year-old phenom "Damien Brunner" is, "How did the Red Wings find this guy?" The answer isn't simple, but the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa sat down with Brunner to find out how he slipped through so very many cracks before spurning the Minnesota Wild, playing one more season in Switzerland and then agreeing to join the Wings after Mike Babcock and Ken Holland sold him on the team during last spring's World Championships.
The blunt answer is that, quite frankly, he wasn't always a star in the making, and as he told Krupa, he struggled so very much with the Kloten Flyers some five years ago that he was traded--and trades are as likely to occur in European hockey as Mickey Redmond is likely to fall in love with a composite hockey stick:
"In my second year and the beginning of the third year at [Kloten], 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. Brunner has arrived in the NHL and, quickly, established he belongs.
What remains to be determined is his ultimate contribution to the team the Red Wings are about to become, and whether he will be a star. The Red Wings may have landed yet another in a series of startling scouting finds.
But Brunner might not have become part of the answer in Detroit without the trade to Zug in the Swiss league, and its coach, Doug Shedden.
I highly suggest that you continue reading Krupa's story...
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.