The summer of 2009 hasn’t been like those of recent years for Andrew Brunette. No slowpitch. No golf. Only a few days fishing on the lake. In fact, the Wild left wing calls this offseason fairly “uneventful” and “one of the most boring summers of my 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 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 Minnesota Twins fan, Brunette laments going to a game earlier this year and having to watch his friends and teammates take batting practice from the sidelines. “I love to see Twins games, so missing out on [taking batting practice], well that kind of stunk.” As he looks to the future, his tone turns upbeat and optimistic, adding, “I try to go to games as often as I can, so hopefully I’ll get to do that some other time.”
Brunette stays positive, adding that if he can’t take part in his usual rounds of golf this summer, he’s thrilled by the opportunity to watch the world’s best compete at the upcoming PGA Championship in Chaska. “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. Hopefully it’s close and interesting down the stretch.”
Since his usual offseason activities and training rituals have been limited, Brunette is understandably more eager for the start of hockey season than past summers. He can practically hear the hockey rink calling his name. “I’m chomping at the bit and want to make the playoffs. Summer seems to last forever now.”
Nearly four months since his surgery, Brunette says he’s “slowly getting back into the swing of things” regarding his offseason training. In addition to quite a bit of biking, he initially focused his workouts on rehab exercises that will give his knee strength and stability for the upcoming season. Now, he has just started running and has even gone on the ice a few times.
While Brunette knows more hard work lies ahead in order to be in tip-top shape for training camp, he’s nothing but excited for the upcoming season. “I’m ready to get back on the ice, feel 100 percent and be ready for training camp.”
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. “I think we’re all excited with what has transpired. 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."