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Brunnstrom makes impression

Swedish forward hopes to turn PTO into contract

Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 5:24 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Brunnstrom makes impression
DETROIT – If Fabian Brunnstrom has learned one thing from hockey, it’s that silence is often golden, especially when it comes from coaches’ critiques.

“I’ve learned over the years in hockey, some times when they don’t say anything that’s a good thing,” said Brunnstrom, who is fighting to earn a spot with the Red Wings.

The Wings have been very impressed with Brunnstrom, who played 99 games with the Dallas Stars, but fell out of favor after collecting just 11 points in 2009-10. He spent last season in the AHL, splitting time between the Texas Stars and the Toronto Marlies, where he combined for 15 goals and 20 assists in 72 games.

But he’s currently in Detroit as a professional tryout (PTO) invitee, and looking to get back into the NHL.

“I think he's been good. I think Cory Emmerton, (Gustav) Nyquist and Brunnstrom were our best line last night,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “So good for him. He was supposed to play with Pav tomorrow, but Pav ain't playing, so we'll go to the next guy. We're just going to keep watching him. I thought he was a good player last night, but he can get way better.”

In four preseason games, Brunnstrom has three goals, including a pair in Thursday’s 4-3 loss at Chicago. He hasn’t heard from the coaches or general manager Ken Holland, but he figures that that a good thing.

“We got a major penalty and then they got back into the game with a couple of goals,” said Brunnstrom, a native of Jonstorp, Sweden. “But I think we battled hard and give them a good match.”

With Jan Mursak (fractured left ankle) out of the lineup until at least Christmas, that has opened a door for a few of the younger guys in training camp, including Brunnstrom, who isn’t resting on anything that he’s already accomplished with the Wings this month.

“Camp is still going with a couple of games left,” he said. “But I’m still here and that has to be something good, right?

“I have to keep going and every day – even if I make the team – I have to work every day, too. That’s how hockey is, and that’s how it goes.”

A decision on Brunnstrom’s future with the Wings won’t be known before the conclusion of the preseason, which is Sunday against Pittsburgh, Holland said Thursday.

But even if he’s offered a contacted by the Wings, Brunnstrom knows what will be expected of him.

“I think, like I’ve said before, I need to play good all over the ice,” he said. “Of course, in my own zone, but just play good and making good plays, strong on the puck and do the right things all of the time.”
Babcock like that Brunnstrom has played with a purpose in the preseason. But then again, so have other guys.

“We've got lots of guys that are playing hungry, but you have to do something, and I thought (Brunnstrom) was effective (Thursday),” Babcock said. “He's good around the puck. Good around the net, and a big body and very strong.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill



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