By Michael Russo
Yo MinnesOHta, Russo here about to get out into this weather.
If you didn’t see, here’s the Andrew Brunette story that appeared in Monday’s editions.
This was my favorite Brunette quote of the story: “I hear the cadaver they put in was from a guy with a really fast ACL, like maybe a sprinter.”
You’ve got to respect his always self-deprecating humor about his speed.
Just some other stuff from Brunette:
– He said he hasn’t felt any pain in three weeks. If he kneels down awkwardly or puts pressure near the scars, he feels a bit of a ting, but other than that, the operation went very well.
“It feels so good, you think you can go out and run or do whatever on it. But the reality is it’s still very weak. You have to remember that.”
In August, he’ll really start working on that right leg.
– Brunette said he’s been going stir crazy since the season. Unable to do much, Brunette watched literally almost every hockey game he could, some on TiVo. His favorite series’ were Jersey-Carolina, Anaheim-Detroit and the Finals.
“Too much hockey almost. I can’t turn it off,” he said before the playoffs concluded. “I always kind of pay attention, but now I can’t get my mind off hockey. It’s almost an overload. It’s addicting. I can’t turn it off.”
– On the new regime: “Everybody was in a shock period, then almost an uncertainty period. But then, the thought of change is good. With Chuck [Fletcher] here, the new regime here, you get the feeling of what’s going on, where they want to take this team. I think the excitement level of the players, the guys I’ve talked to, is pretty high. Nothing against what was here before. We were very successful with what they did for nine years. But sometimes for guys like Nick Schultz or Burnzie, guys that have been around for a long time, sometimes it’s a nice little break or change of scenery or breath of fresh air when you know everything’s going to be different. In some ways, familiarity is good and change, you’re a little nervous about it. But I think in this case, this is going to be good.”
Oh, since we last spoke, a new Stanley Cup champion was crowned. What a Game 7!
Those who picked Pittsburgh couldn’t have felt too good about their pick after the Pens feel down 2-0 or dropped Game 5 by five goals. But the Pens are one deep, skilled team, and one that can clamp down defensively as well as anybody.
New Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, the Penguins’ assistant GM as of three-plus weeks ago, got to take in the game and festivities. I am told by people in Pittsburgh that Penguins GM Ray Shero is going to make sure Fletcher gets his name on the Cup and gets a Stanley Cup ring.
Fletcher’s been oh-so close many times. As Florida’s assistant GM in 1996, the third-year Panthers got swept in the Finals by Colorado. As Anaheim’s assistant GM in 2003, the Ducks lost in Game 7 of the Finals at New Jersey. Fletcher took the Pittsburgh job and in his first season in Pittsburgh, Anaheim wins it all. So he just missed that, and then the Pens lose in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
But this was a different story and the Pens feel Fletcher was a part of this even though he technically was employed by a different team the last three-plus weeks (he was around Calgary when the Flames won in ’89 because his father, Cliff, was GM).
Now all Fletcher’s got to do is build a Cup-caliber team in Minnesota. Won’t be easy though. One thing the Finals proved is how far the Wild really are (is?). The Wild is severely short assets because of the fact it has had one second-round pick and no third-round picks the last three years (unless Fletcher picks up some picks this Draft) and has routinely allowed free agents to walk away for nothing.
It’ll take some patience peeps.
Speaking of patience, a new coach will be in place soon.