Red Wings forward Damien Brunner spoke to NHL.com's Brian Hedger today (via RedWingsFeed), and Brunner offered a surprisingly stark assessment of the progress he's made as a 26-year-old rookie (he's not eligible for the Calder Trophy, but a rookie is a rookies) because Brunner has a surprisingly high standerd to meet--his own:
"For sure, I want to prove that [I belong]," Brunner said after practice Saturday morning. "There were also a lot of guys back home who thought it was going to be tough … so I came over and wanted to prove to all the guys who criticized me that I could do it. But I [did] it for myself too."
Brunner, an undrafted free-agent signing who also considered the Tampa Bay Lightning, said it took him roughly two weeks to adjust his wide-open offensive game to fit the smaller North American rinks and physical play. Otherwise, the difference in his game now is an eagerness to charge the net and hang around those tough areas looking for scoring opportunities.