Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 1/13/13
PLYMOUTH, Mich. It's quite the luxury to begin your NHL career playing on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. But that's what new Red Wing Damien Brunner will experience this week. "That's the easiest thing in the world," Zetterberg said about playing with Datsyuk. Zetterberg is used to playing with Datsyuk but for Brunner it's going to be completely new. "I still wont believe it until I step out on the ice with him," Brunner said after his first practice with the Wings at Compuware Arena Sunday. "He's the only guy I haven't seen on the team. I'm looking forward to meeting him. "When you have two guys like that on the same line the puck is going to be in the offensive zone a lot. I'll try to catch up with those guys and stay in the right place." Datsyuk, who remained in Russia to play in the KHL All-Star Game, is expected back in Detroit Monday but won't practice right away. Brunner, 26, is embarking on a new challenge in the NHL after leading the Swiss League in scoring the last few years. He had 25 goals and 32 assists in just 33 games with EV Zug. In all but 10 of those games, he was playing with Zetterberg, who went to Switzerland during the lockout. "He likes to shoot," Zetterberg said. "If you have a shot like that, if I would have that I would love to shoot, too. That's one of his strengths and he will do it. He will have that role here. "He will be the guy who's going to shoot a lot. He's a righty, so on power plays and stuff, it's going to be fun to see him here over this year. He is good enough to be a good player here." Brunner has good memories of his first game playing alongside Zetterberg. "We scored on opening shift," Brunner said. "It was fun. Its so easy with him hes such a great guy and a professional. It was great for the whole team." Zetterberg said Brunner had nothing left to prove in the Swiss League. Now Brunner has a lot to prove, especially adjusting to the smaller ice surface. "Everything happens so much quicker. I think it's more physical, you don't have as much time as you do over there," Zetterberg said. "It's more straight lines, more starts and stops. That's going to be a challenge for him. It is tough for everyone who comes over from Europe. That's the toughest thing to learn, but he's not 19 or 20. He's 26, he's been around for a while, he's got a lot of hockey sense, so I think he'll figure it out." Although no one wanted the lockout to occur, coach Mike Babcock was at least pleased that Brunner had Zetterberg join him with EV Zug. "We think he's obviously a real talented guy," Babcock said. "Time's going to tell how he adapts. It worked out as good for him as it could have possibly worked because obviously leading the league in scoring again for the third year in a row, Z comes over, he develops a friendship, a confidence to play with real good players. Now he's just got to keep doing the same thing so we're excited about having him." Brunner said Zetterberg had already befriended him when Brunner first came to Detroit a few months ago after signing with the Wings. "I was supposed to stay at hotel and he had me come join him at his house and I lived with him," Brunner said. "It was a great gesture of a player of his caliber and took away so much nervousness. When a guy like him takes care of you its really nice. Easier to have someone look after you than be on your own." Zetterberg also made sure to help Brunner in his first day practicing with the team. "It was fun," Brunner said. "More intense than Switzerland, like drills rolling and rolling, no break. Not much explanation, but it was good. Hank was helping me out quite a bit. I knew the drills pretty quick." Niklas Kronwall said Brunner having that connection with Zetterberg will definitely ease his transition to the NHL. "It's going to help him big time," Kronwall said. "They've developed some good chemistry already. They know where each other is, they can kind of read off each other. It also helps him get into a routine, getting to know the other guys, too." Although Brunner was a star in the Swiss League and there are high expectations for such a talented scorer, he said he's just looking to fit in. "I was playing in Switzerland and now Im here and Im battling for a spot," Brunner said. "Its nice that they have some nice words, but by the end of the day I have to prove it on the ice. This was one day of practice and I cant say I did anything special. I try to skate hard and put pucks in the net."
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne


USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

USMNT are big favorites against Canada

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker