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Studying Abroad

It’s been 175 days since the Detroit Red Wings played. 175 days. That’s an awfully long offseason for the Detroit Red Wings and their fans. I’ve attempted to keep busy by taking up 12 new TV series, getting a real job (ew) and pretending to like baseball (Wait—how many innings are there? How come there are 4 bases? Oh. Go Tigers!)

Over the last month, 9 Red Wing players have signed contracts overseas…and 1 in Denver (Oh Quincey…you WOULD). I’ve spent countless hours looking for illegal websites so I can livestream some hockey and get my fix. I’m pretty bitter that I didn’t see Datsyuk’s header goal live. ESPN2 airing KHL games??? Best news I’ve heard in months.

Let’s sum up what we’ve been missing:

Valtteri Filppula – Jokerit Helsinki (Finland) – SM-liiga
8 GP, 9 pts, 4G, 5A, 2PIM, +5
(Out indefinitely with UBI)

Jan Mursak – HDD Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia) – Erste Bank Eishockey Liga
4 GP, 10 pts, 0G, 10A, 0PIM, +9

Pavel Datsyuk – CSKA Moscow (Russia) – KHL
7 GP, 9 pts, 3G, 6A, 2PIM, +6

Damien Brunner – EV Zug (Switzerland) – National League A
8 GP, 11 pts, 4G, 7A, 6PIM, +2
Fast forward to 1:07 – game against EHC Biel (Tyler Seguin’s team)

Jakub Kindl – HC Pardubice (Czech Republic) – Czech Extraliga
7 GP, 1 pt, 0G, 1A, 0PIM, -6

We haven’t missed anything yet from Cory Emmerton (signed with SaiPa in Finland this week), Jonathan Ericsson (Vita Hasten in Sweden), Drew Miller (Braehead Clan in Scotland – EIHL), Zetterberg (joining Damien Brunner on EV Zug in Switzerland), or Kyle Quincey (Denver Cutthroats…have I been watching too much Dexter or is that really graphic? – CHL).

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with what (4/5 of) the guys have been doing abroad and am interested to see how the other 5 look after a long summer. Wishing Filppula a quick recovery.


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Fresh Faces: Fabian Brunnstrom

This edition of Fresh Faces will focus on Fabian Brunnstrom, a 26-year-old Swede (yes, another one) who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Red Wings on October 3rd.  The Wings signed Brunnstrom to a pro tryout contract in mid-August, giving him an opportunity to prove his worth.  The determination and impressive skill set he demonstrated during the preseason earned him a well-deserved spot on the Wings’ roster.

Brunnstrom celebrating his goal on Chicago's Corey Crawford with teammate Gustav Nyquist

Brunnstrom began playing professionally in 2005 with Jonstorps IF in Sweden’s third-highest level hockey league. He scored 44 points in the 38 games he played in during the 2005-2006 season. The following season (2006-07), Brunnstrom played for Boras HC and helped promote the team to the second-tier Swedish league, Allsvenskan. That season Brunnstrom lead the league with an astonishing 73 points in just 41 games. In 2007-08, Brunnstrom played in Sweden’s first-tier league, Elitserien, with Farjestads BK.

Although his elite performance in Sweden attracted interest from the NHL, he went undrafted in 2008 and became an unrestricted free agent. In May 2008, Fabian Brunnstrom signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars. After being a healthy scratch for his first two games as a Star, Brunnstrom became the third player in history to score a hat trick during his first game in the NHL.

In October 2010, Brunnstrom was placed on waivers. He was assigned to the Texas Stars, the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate team, after he cleared waivers a few days later. In January 2011, Brunnstrom was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and played for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Many believe that Brunnstrom is a so-called “late bloomer” and that his performance level may actually be higher now in his return to the NHL, having two years of experience in the AHL.  After scoring two goals in the exhibition game against Chicago, Brunnstrom has led us to believe that this may in fact be true.  I trust Ken Holland with all of my being and agree that between his size and goal scoring ability, signing Fabian Brunnstrom will be quite advantageous for the Wings.