Don’t know if you heard, so I’ll tell you: Andrew Brunette is playing his 1,000th NHL game tonight. “Bruno” has this reputation of being a great guy, but I’m starting to think he’s one of those people that plays up their own birthday for about a week in an effort to get more presents. I mean, he’ll play his 1,000th game tonight, and then he’ll be honored next Wednesday when the Wild hosts his former team, the Colorado Avalanche. Get over yourself, Bruno!
I’m just joshing of course. Brunette doesn’t exactly love talking about the game, maybe because as he says, it makes him feel “old.” I hope when I’m old, I can rank fourth on an NHL team in scoring with 12 goals and 16 assists through 49 games.
Brunette’s teammates are excited for the big night as well, and Todd Richards hopes it will lift them early in the game as the Wild and Kings look to kick off the rust of the All-Star break.
The Wild has the minimum number of players available tonight. It’s possible the team makes a call to Houston for an upcoming trip to Denver and Phoenix, but that likely wouldn’t come until Wednesday night or Thursday morning, if at all.
One last thought on Brunette: For good reason, his goal against Colorado in April of 2003 was picked as the Greatest Moment in the Wild’s first 10 years. But my favorite moment came in the next series against Vancouver. Once again, the Wild was down 3-1 in a playoff series against the Canucks. But in Game Five, the Wild offense exploded for seven goals in a 7-2 trouncing of Dan Cloutier and Friends.
Brunette scored the fourth goal of that game midway through the second period which saw five Wild goals. On his marker, in typical Brunette fashion, he got the puck behind the net, fought off a a high hook from Ed Jovanovski by sticking his butt out, and then roofing a backhand over Cloutier. As he raised his arms, “Bruno” smiled and stuck his tongue out as teammates celebrated. There was something about that look from Brunette that told everybody, “we’re going to win this game, and we’re going to win the series.”
You can see that goal at #3 on the list of Top Ten Bruno Plays in a Wild uniform by clicking here.
A couple nights later, after the Wild thumped the Canucks again to force Game Seven, Brunette was quoted as saying, “If you asked us at the start of the series if it would be a one-game series, we would have taken that.”
That’s why he was, is and always will be a Wild fan favorite.