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Could Brunner be headed back to Switzerland?

Sep 5, 2013, 2:37 PM EDT

Damien Brunner AP

With NHL training camps starting next week and no contract for the upcoming campaign, Damien Brunner might need to start looking elsewhere for work.

His native Switzerland, specifically.

On Thursday, a report surfaced from Luzernerzeitung, a Swiss German-language daily newspaper, suggesting that National League A team EV Zug could sign Brunner on a game-by-game basis, keeping his NHL options alive in the process.

Here’s a (hasty) translation of the piece:

Zuger sporting director Jakub Horak (39) says: “We do not plan to Brunner. But of course we would take him to kiss on the hand.

“It would be conceivable an agreement from game to game, from which Brunner can get off at any time.”

(If anybody knows what the “kiss on the hand” thing means, please enlighten us in the comments section.)

Brunner, 27, has a long history with Zug, having played there for five seasons before joining Detroit in 2013 (in 2011-12, he led the Swiss league in scoring and was named forward of the year.)

Last season, his first in the NHL, Brunner scored 26 points in 44 games with the Wings and finished third on the team in goals, with 12.

It should be noted that, in mid-August, Brunner’s agent (Neil Sheehy) said that his client would play in the NHL this season.

  1. 950003cups - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    In Swiss Hand = Ass

  2. tmoore4075 - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    IF he ends up back in Europe, he and his agent really screwed up. Yeah he’ll still get paid well but they thought there would be more of a bidding war but apparently everyone thought better of it for a guy who had only played 48 games. He would have been great on that 3rd line in Detroit with Nyquist and a healthy Helm.

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Sep 5, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Why hasn’t this guy been signed, he’s got skill. Is he not sure about the NHL or something. We could really use him here in SJ.

    • yustasayin - Sep 5, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      Same reason Hodgson isn’t signed….hasn’t proved a thing yet and maybe a problem child!

  4. canadianguest - Sep 5, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    kiss on the hand might be their equivalent of a more positive, “rather than a kick in the pants” as in, we’d rather have Brunner then a kick in the pants.

  5. martysbetter - Sep 5, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    I don’t see why this guy wouldn’t take a 1-year “show me” deal.

    If he has a great season he’s still only 28 and could easily cash in next summer.

    • polegojim - Sep 6, 2013 at 1:08 AM

      That’s the point Martys… he WOULDN”T do it. BAD BAD BAD agent advice.

      He should’ve stayed in Detroit with a modest deal and proved himself during 2013-14 season… THEN he would have gotten paid. It’s just that simple.

      Just foolishness. He’ll wait out part of the season in hopes that an injury will cause a team to bring him back… and he still doubt he’ll get paid even remotely what he’s been demanding.

  6. endusersolutions2013 - Sep 5, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Wild, Preds, Yotes, Blues all could use some help offensively and have some cap space remainng.

    If Brunner or his agent realize the concern teams have with giving out big bucks and years for someone with such limited NHL experience, he could still play here and make the start.

    SOmetimes you need to get humbled a bit in life.

    • cheliostwin - Sep 5, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      I think his agent screwed things up for him. The Wings tried to sign him, but reportedly he insisted on a longer contract and more money. I think his agent took a look around the NHL, saw what other players with similar stats to Brunner had signed for, and figured he could get just as good a deal for Brunner. The lowering of the salary cap, and Brunner’s lack of NHL experience, complicates things enough that the deal he wanted just wasn’t out there.

  7. ovechkaps - Sep 6, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    “Wir würden ihn mit Handkuss nehmen”. Roughly: we would take him and kiss his hand (to thank him for the possibility).

  8. snipedanglecelly13 - Sep 6, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    He’s welcome here in Detroit but we have too many forwards signed under contract now unfortunately

  9. karlvalley - Sep 6, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Here is the full article, in English (or close) and in German.

    Damien Brunner is still without a new NHL contract. The top scorer may join – albeit temporarily- this old team EV Zug.
    By Nicola Berger
    NHL transfer period started July 5. Contracts in the size of one billion Dollars were signed. But Damien Brunner (27) did not get a piece of this gigantic pie. The best Swiss scorer of all times is still on the market. That is surprising- and frustrating for Brunner. He produced 26 points in 44 games for Detroit Red Wings and proved that he is NHL material.
    Brunner could still play for the Red Wings, but he turned down their offer in June. In the meantime, most teams have made their choices and Brunner is running out on time. The new season starts on October 1st, and the camps start no sooner than next week.
    So there is a possibility that he puts on the EV Zug jersey again. Zug’s sport head Jakub Horak (39): “We don’t count on Brunner. But we would certainly take him anytime, with pleasure”. One option would be a game-by-game contract that would allow Brunner to accept an NHL offer at any time. But what if another Swiss team, such as Berne, Lugano or Fribourg, made him an offer? Even with better conditions. EV Zug is confident that the current agreement excludes such a move.
    (Note: “mit Handkuss nehmen” means here “accept a gift/good fortune/nice gesture with great pleasure”)
    Original Article in Luzerner Zeitung (Online)
    EISHOCKEY ⋅ Damien Brunner ist noch immer ohne neuen Arbeitgeber in der NHL. Nun könnte sich der Goalgetter – zumindest temporär – dem EV Zug anschliessen.
    Nicola Berger
    Am 5. Juli öffnete in der NHL die Transferbörse. Seither wurden Verträge in der Gesamtsumme von gegen einer Milliarde Dollar abgeschlossen. Vom gigantischen Kuchen nichts abgekriegt hat bisher Damien Brunner (27). Der beste Schweizer Stürmer aller Zeiten befindet sich noch immer auf dem Markt. Das ist überraschend – und für Brunner frustrierend. Für die Detroit Red Wings hatte er im Frühjahr nach dem Lockout in 44 Spielen 26 Punkte produziert und dabei seine NHL-Tauglichkeit unter Beweis gestellt.
    Brunner könnte noch immer für die Red Wings spielen, eine entsprechende Offerte hatte er im Juni jedoch abgelehnt. Inzwischen sind die Plätze bei praktisch jeder der 30 NHL-Organisationen besetzt, und Brunner läuft die Zeit davon. Am 1. Oktober beginnt in Übersee die neue Saison, bereits in einer Woche starten in manchen Teams die Vorbereitungscamps.
    Es kann nun durchaus sein, dass er abermals im EVZ-Dress aufläuft. Der Zuger Sportchef Jakub Horak (39) sagt: «Wir planen nicht mit Brunner. Aber wir würden ihn natürlich mit Handkuss nehmen.» Denkbar wäre eine Vereinbarung von Spiel zu Spiel, aus welcher Brunner jederzeit aussteigen kann. Doch was, wenn Bern, Lugano oder Fribourg dem Torphänomen ebenfalls ein Angebot machen? Zu womöglich gar besseren Konditionen? Beim EVZ geht man davon aus, dass man gegen solche Eventualitäten vertraglich abgesichert ist.

  10. karlvalley - Sep 7, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Knowing Damien Brunner from his time in Zug, I cannot imagine that he turned down the Red Wings offer just for the money. Maybe he was ill-advised by his agent, maybe he was not in the Top 6, or another team promised him a Top 6 spot and did not follow through. He truly enjoyed his time in Detroit, and the team members liked him a lot.He also went through some rough patches in his career, so he knows the light and the shadow of a hockey life.
    He did not cope well with the intensity of the (condensed after-lockout) NHL schedule. That’s why we saw the “real” Brunner at the start and in the playoffs. I would love to see him playing in the NHL. If he joins EV Zug for the whole season, it will make an “average” team again a contender for the Swiss championship. But it would be bad for his career, I think.

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