Detroit Red WIngs Damien Brunner fights with Calgary Flames Chris Butler during their tilt at the Saddledome on Thursday. Jim Wells/QMI Agency
Damien Brunner was not sure what to expect in his first foray into the National Hockey League.
For years the Detroit Red Wings rookie dominated the Swiss League, but knew North America would be a completely different ball game.
“I had expectations coming here, but at the end of the day, you don’t know what it’s going to be like until you play the first game,” said Brunner, prior to going up against the Edmonton Oilers Friday night. “I was really excited to come over here and play in the NHL with the smaller ice. It’s been fun.”
Brunner, 27, signed as a free agent this summer, having finished a top of the Swiss national league in scoring last season. The Zurich product was once again on top this year during the lockout, having netted 25 goals and 57 points in 33 games for EV Zug.
Brunner went to Detroit following the lockout and got off to a strong start with the Red Wings, scoring 10 goals and adding six assists in his first 19 games.