Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
I am taking a page from Tim MacMahon (who I love. YES I AM CONFESSING MY LOVE FOR YOU!) by calling him the Swedish dude. For those of you who are asking “huh?” I am talking about Mr. Fabian Brunnstrom.
Boy oh boy DO I LOVE THIS KID! Not only did he become the second Stars rookie this season to score his first NHL goal in his debut game, but became the 3rd player in HISTORY to get a HAT TRICK, yes a FUCKING HAT TRICK, in his first game! It hasn’t been done in 29 years, not even by the second coming of Gretzky, Sidney Crosby. Hell, not even Gretzky did it. Now, I’m not saying he is going to be as amazing as Gretzky was with the scoring, but still. It’s fun to say. (Gretzky’s face after their loss tonight was also classic. As was the player faceplanting himself on the ice after the Blackhawks scored.)
Before I go off on how much I love him, I could talk about the rest of the team. They finally looked like a team. They passed better, communicated better and just played better in general. Tonight was the first time they started to pick up from where they left off last season. Loui Eriksson almost got the scoring started, but Brenden Morrow was being called for goalie interference. Sigh, the refs were set on penalizing him like crazy. Stephane Robidas got the scoring started in the first with a power play goal with help from the Mike’s, Modano and Ribiero.
The second period was high scoring, 6 goals in all. Mike Modano put the Stars up 2-0 with help from his linemates for the night Crombeen and Petersen. Nashville tied it up in the next 10 minutes, with goals from Radek Bonk (assists from Erat and Peverley) and Patric Hornqvist (assists from Weber and Suter). The Stars managed 2 more goals, both coming from Fabian Brunnstrom. The first assisted by Petersen and Boucher and the second from Richards and Avery, who were his linemates of the night. His first two career goals bookended a goal from Ryan Jones.
Just under 11 minutes into the third, the Preds tied it up, again. And just over 6 minutes later, the magic happened. From a gorgeous feed from Richards behind the net, that Swedish dude nets his first career hat trick on just his 3rd NHL goal. He almost got a 4th goal, but the play had been waved dead just before the puck entered the net due to a Preds player getting injured. Mike Modano stuck the nail in the Preds coffin by getting an empty-netter with 4 seconds left. I am going to have to kiss the person who got me the free tickets tonight, because what a fantastic game to attend. The team really seemed to be energetic, I guess getting off to a 0-1-1 start was all the motivation they needed to get their act together. Mike Modano was more physical tonight than I’ve seen him in a while, and it was awesome to see. Oh goodness.
Now, on to gush about the boy that is Fabian. First to quote Tippett about this fantastic boy.
“The process is going well. He played a solid game,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “The goals are easy to see, but I was very impressed with the way that he played a pretty simple, error-free game, did what he was supposed to do and he capitalized on some chances. It’s a great start for him. Again, it’s not just the goals, it’s the other things that he’s doing out there that make you feel good about where he’s come from. He’s a good player and he’s going to continue to improve.”
He played a great, great game. Especially for a rookie. He was interviewed after the game, and had this to say:
“I scored 3 goals and that was fun, but more important was that we won the game and now we have our first win. It was a lot of fun tonight.” “…I just try to go out, work hard and enjoy the game. I’m really glad to be a part of the NHL. I’m having fun right now.” “…Dallas, I love everything about it and the organization. They have been so great to me.”
And with that first quote, he became Sergei “I like winning” Zubov’s favorite teammate. I love. This kid. So much. NHL on the Fly included all 3 of his goals in their Ice Pix; his first goal was number 5, his second number 3 and his hat trick was number 1. Fantastic. Bloody fantastic. Yes, I said bloody. Speaking of, I must mention that I approved of at least one thing Avery did tonight during the game. Someone from the Preds had hit Brunnstrom and knocked his helmet off, so Avery went after him. Good boy Avery, that is one way to get into my good graces.
Three Stars of the night
- Fabian Brunnstrom
- Mike Modano
- Martin Erat