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Hard work ahead for Brunette

by Carly Peters
The summer of 2009 hasn't been like a lot of previous summers for Andrew Brunette.

There's been no slo-pitch softball. No golf. Just a few days fishing on the lake. In fact, the Minnesota Wild left wing calls this offseason fairly uneventful and one of the most boring summers of his life.

Sure, he's enjoyed spending time with friends and family at a lake home northwest of Toronto since the end of June. And he loved going to some Twins games when he was in Minnesota at the beginning of the summer.

But, even the fun times have been hampered by the injury his right knee suffered at the end of last season, resulting in ACL surgery on April 16.

An avid Twins fan, Brunette laments going to a game earlier this year and having to watch from the sidelines as his friends and teammates take batting practice.

"I love to see Twins games, so missing out on [taking batting practice], well that kind of stunk," he said. "I try to go to games as often as I can, so hopefully I'll get to do that some other time."

As usual, Brunette finds the positive in things.

His knee injury has limited his ability to play golf this summer, yet he's thrilled by the opportunity to watch the world's best compete at the upcoming 2009 PGA Championship in Chaska, Minn.

"I've never been to a PGA event, so I'm really looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to following Mike Weir around -- a fellow Canadian -- and watch him take a run at winning it," Brunette said. "Hopefully it's close and interesting down the stretch."

With his usual offseason activities and training rituals limited, Brunette is understandably more eager for the start of hockey season than during past summers.

"I'm chomping at the bit and want to make the playoffs," he said. "Summer seems to last forever now."

Four months removed from his surgery, Brunette says he's slowly getting back into the swing of things in regard to his offseason training. In addition to quite a bit of biking, he initially focused his workouts on rehab exercises that gave his knee strength and stability for the upcoming season. He's now able to run -- and has even gone on the ice a few times.

Brunette knows more hard work lies ahead in order to be in tip-top shape for training camp, yet he remains excited about the prospect of a new season.

"I'm ready to get back on the ice, feel 100 percent and be ready for training camp," he said.

Brunette's energized attitude may be more than just a simple case of cabin fever, too. He's looking forward to seeing all the team's new faces in the fall, beginning with new GM Chuck Fletcher, coach Todd Richards and forward Martin Havlat.

"I think we're all excited with what has transpired," Brunette said. "It's a breath of fresh air from what Wild hockey has been for the last 10 years. It's been a great 10 years, but I think everybody's excited. Sometimes change does a world of good to people, and hopefully we'll all be excited and play our best hockey and hopefully get into the playoffs."

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