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2010 NHL free agency: Lightning sign forward Chris Durno

Jul 25, 2010, 11:34 AM EDT

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chrisdurno.jpgThe Lightning are at it again. It might be a Sunday morning in late July but that isn’t stopping Steve Yzerman from helping the Lightning fill out ranks on the team as the team announced the signing of forward Chris Durno today to a one-year, two-way contract.

The six-foot-four 205-pounder had four goals and eight points in 41 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season. He played 43 games with the Avs the previous two seasons.

Durno also played in 17 games with Lake Erie last season, recording 10 goals and 18 points.

Durno, a Michigan Tech alum, likely isn’t being counted on for much more than being fourth line depth for the Lightning but at the very least, he’s got a huge cult following now thanks to Maple Leafs blog Down Goes Brown. DGB tells the story of a classic non-battle at Maple Leaf Gardens between Denis Savard and Gary Leeman on Hockey Night In Canada where some shoddy camera work ensures that a young Chris Durno makes his first appearance on television before he ever became a professional hockey player.

In the middle of Leeman and Savard’s dance of futility, the camera pans by a young hockey fan wearing a #8 Leafs jersey that reads “Durno”. This begs two questions: how bad were the camera angles in Maple Leaf Gardens that a small child could block them, and what the heck is a “Durno”? Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this.

Since nobody by that name ever played for the Leafs, I’m going to assume it’s the kid’s name. A few minutes of google research reveals a journeyman minor leaguer named Chris Durno, who at the age of 28 finally made his NHL debut this year by playing two games for the Avalanche. Chris Durno grew up in Scarborough, would have been nine years old when this game was played, and according to this interview he always wore #8 when he was growing up.

You know what? I’m going to go ahead and make the claim that that’s future NHLer Chris Durno blocking the camera in the middle of this fight!

Commenters confirmed that it was indeed Durno and now he’s an instant legend amongst Down Goes Brown’s army of followers. For a fourth liner/AHL guy, there’s probably not a better way to live in the hockey world. Not everyone can be Paul Bissonette after all.

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