According to Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times, the Lightning have emerged as a frontrunner for the services of Swiss star Damien Brunner.
“I would say Tampa is serious about Damien. I would say Damien is serious about Tampa,” said Brunner’s agent, Neil Sheehy. “I know Damien was very, very impressed with Steve Yzerman. They have met and there’s interest on both sides.”
Brunner, 26, has spent the last four years with Zug of the Swiss-A League, scoring an eye-popping 190 points in his last 168 regular season games. At the recently-completed World Hockey Championships, he led the Swiss team in scoring and was named one of Switzerland’s best players of the tournament as selected by coaches (along with Islanders defenseman Mark Streit.)
Described as a “highly-skilled, fleet-skating” winger, Brunner has been released from his contract with Zug and is therefore eligible to sign with any NHL club. It’s believed the Pittsburgh Penguins are also interested in his services.
Yzerman’s interest in Brunner isn’t surprising. He’s been busy scouting the European prospects (and the WHC) and, last week, told the Tampa Tribune he’s interested in bringing Finnish netminder Riku Helenius back to North America. Helenius, a former first-round pick of the Lightning, has spent the last three years playing overseas.
Sheehy said that Brunner will likely sign with an NHL club prior to the draft.
Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.
Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.
As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.
Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.
“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”
Commodore wasn’t done there:
And there was much, much more.
To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”