Tag Archives: Andrew Brunette

Brunette To Guest On NHL Network

Sooner or later, Andrew Brunette is bound for the airwaves as a hockey analyst. It’s going to be sooner. “Bruno” is going to serve as a guest analyst on NHL Network starting Friday through Sunday.

Brunette had one of the quicker wits in the Wild locker room over the past few years, and he’s certainly got the voice and the laugh that are perfect for TV. You can check out his TV chops on this video from the Wild Skills competition two years ago. I think it would be nice if they brought Derek Boogaard on the show for Brunette to interview him one more time. And if Brent Burns could also be brought in to stand in the background and laugh hysterically, all the better.

Bruno Week will come to an end tonight when the Wild honors the NHL’s latest 1,000 Game Man. Brunette and his family will be presented with various gifts prior to the Wild game, and that will be followed by a couple of video tributes to the Wild winger. His brother, Jamie, will then perform the “Let’s Play Hockey” declaration with Brunette’s dog, Simon.

Wild.com fans might remember Simon, who was featured on the site last year.

Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon will both return to the lineup to face the Avalanche, who will not have Peter Forsberg in the lineup. Forsberg, who signed last week, is not even with the team as he awaits some finalization of his visa issues.

The first 3,500 fans at tonight’s game will also get Puck #6 in the Top Ten Moments series, which depicts Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s spin-o-rama goal against Chicago in the shootout.

That’s all for now.

Zidlicky Returns To Practice

The big news out of Wild practice late this morning is that Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky took the ice with the team for the first time since injuring his shoulder Dec. 29 against San Jose. Zidlicky earned a nice round of stick taps from his teammates on ice to begin practice this morning.

While it is a good sign that Zidlicky is back on the ice, it does not mean he is ready for game action, or really, even practice action. Zidlicky wore a yellow practice jersey to stand out against the rest of the players and remind them he is still in the no-hitting stage of his recovery. That being said, Zidlicky did participate in most drills and certainly has to feel good to be back at it with the guys.

After practice both Todd Richards and Zidlicky reiterated that his return to practice is just a step in his comeback and the timeline of his recovery is still very much day-to-day. Listen to the post-practice reaction in today’s PONDcast here and watch what Zidlicky had to say here.

The regular Wild lineup of late looks good to go tomorrow since every player was on the ice today. Richards would not confirm who will be in net tomorrow for the Wild, but very much hinted at the obvious choice in Niklas Backstrom. As far as the Avalanche coming to town, it will be interesting to see if the Wild has to face Peter Forsberg, who recently signed with the Avs to take yet another shot at a NHL comeback. Regardless if the Wild has to face Forsberg, it will be up against a tough Colorado team in a game where it wants to come away with two points after ending the road trip with a tough loss in Phoenix.

As if the possible return of Forsberg or an intense division battle wasn’t reason enough for you to make it down to Xcel Energy Center tomorrow night, don’t forget the Wild will also be honoring Andrew Brunette in a pre-game ceremony for recently hitting the 1,000-game milestone. I’ve seen some of the preparation for the ceremony and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Perhaps the most important and certainly my favorite reason as to why people should be fighting over tickets to tomorrow’s game: the traditional Let’s Play Hockey! call will be made by Brunette’s brother, Jamie, and Bruno’s beloved golden retriever, Simon! A cute dog starting off the Wild game? Come on people – you should be camping out to see this! I’m a dog lover so I’ll even make it easy for you, just click here.

Finally, don’t forget to come meet Martin Havlat and Guillaume Latendresse at tonight’s Hockey Unplugged at The Dog House Bar and Grill in Maplewood. The event starts at 7 p.m. and you can get more information by clicking here.

Wild Heads Back On The Road

Good Afternoon from St. Paul, where the Wild players are currently packing up their hockey bags and getting ready to head to the airport as they go out on the road once again. It seems like every time you turn around, the team is leaving for a road trip – but with the way the guys have played on the road this season, you can’t really complain about a lack of extended home stands.

This time, the Wild heads to Denver for a matchup with the Avalanche tomorrow and then to Phoenix for a game Saturday. Tomorrow’s game should be interesting because the Wild and Avs had some VERY physical contests earlier in the year, but the last contest between the two was relatively mellow – what type of game will it be tomorrow? Of course, both games have plenty of importance since they are Western Conference battles and the playoff race continues to get tighter, even when you think it can’t be possible.

Speaking of Phoenix, they blew a lead last night to San Jose and the Sharks ended up winning 5-3, meaning the Wild’s stay 8th place and playoff position lasted about two hours. I talked to Matt Cullen about it after practice and thought some of the things he said were very interesting: basically saying that while it can at times be frustrating that the Wild’s winning and not making much headway in the standings, the team feels good because the tight standings are practically like a playoff race and the Wild is dealing with the pressure of that and winning.

As for practice itself, every Wild player was on the ice for a pretty fast-paced 45 minutes or so and looked like they’ve gotten rid of the All-Star rust. Todd Richards reiterated after practice that Jose Theodore will start in Colorado, adding that they made the decision before break. Regardless of Niklas Backstrom’s great play of late, they want to make sure they have both goalies to use down the stretch and Jose needs to get some playing time in. Listen to Todd Richards entire scrum with the media on this Wild PONDcast.

I saw photos last night, but I finally got to see the shirts honoring Andrew Brunette’s 1,000th NHL game that all the players and team staff got yesterday:

They’re pretty sweet up close. Brunette was on NHL Live this afternoon to talk about the milestone and will be honored with a pre-game ceremony at the next Wild home game Wednesday against the Avalanche.

Finally, in case you didn’t see it last night, I’ll leave you with video of Niklas Backstrom’s absolutely unbelieveable, amazing, jaw-dropping and a million other adjectives save on Jack Johnson in the shootout last night. Watch it here.

“Bruno Week” Starts Tonight

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.

Brunette Good To Go

Andrew Brunette left just a hint of a doubt yesterday as to whether or not he’d be able to play in tonight’s home opener. But those of us here know this guy doesn’t miss games, and he’s not going to miss the home opener. Both Brunette and Todd Richards confirmed that the author of what is likely the Top Moment in Wild history will be ready to go for tonight’s contest against the Oilers.

It was a circus down in the locker room area today, with cameras and bottom-feeding media types crawling everywhere like roaches. Richards entered his media scrum and said, “We must be playing a Canadian team tonight.”

The highlight from today’s morning skate came afterward, when John Madden let Wild.com film him receiving his Stanley Cup ring from the Blackhawks. Not surprisingly, this thing was absolutely massive and as Raymond “Rain Man” Babbitt might say, “very sparkly.”

This was the third time that Madden got to put one of those on his finger, and I’m sure it’s old hat to him by now. But I’m betting he won’t have a problem putting another one on next year with the Wild logo on it. That’s right, the march toward a whole locker room full of shiny rings officially begins tonight.

Niklas Backstrom will get the start in goal. It appears that Clayton Stoner will be the only healthy scratch.

Zidlicky Returns; Brunette Sits Out

It was a fairly uneventful day during today’s team practice at Xcel Energy Center. With two days remaining before the first home game of the season, the Wild was put through the paces of a typical hour-long practice. The standard skating cycling drills were capped off by a shootout contest at the end. The losing team had to skate, and in sudden death, Mikko Koivu gave the red team a victory by flipping his usual backhander past Jose Theodore.

Theodore, by the way, had a plain white goalie mask on today. No word on if he’ll have a new paint job by opening night or not.

Marek Zidlicky was one of the first players on the ice today, and he stayed out there for the team practice. He didn’t sit out any of the drills so it looks like he’s on track to return for Thursday night. The only player that wasn’t on the ice was Andrew Brunette, who was dealing with a hip issue. There was no official word on his status, but it was likely just a maintenance day. An injury has to be pretty substantial to hold Bruno out of a game. If he’s not out there tomorrow, then we’ll start asking questions.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard took Brunette’s spot on a line with Koivu and Antti Miettinen. He was still wearing the gold jersey, which means “no contact.” However, he was showing some serious bursts of speed, which hopefully means he’s not worried about pushing himself.

I spoke to Kyle Brodziak about yesterday’s off-ice team building activity led by U.S. Army Sergeant Major J.B. Spisso. The day consisted of three teams performing a wide array of tasks from building tents, to carrying a fallen comrade and plenty more. Brodziak said he was completely wiped out by the end of the day, but really enjoyed the experience.

Spisso had a message on the team’s whiteboard in the locker room today, which said, “Stack the enemy like cord wood. Hooah!” – J.B.

I do not know what that means, but I hope nobody on the team ever mistakes me for cord wood.