As per Vancouver Province
Barry Brust has more than a passing interest as the bitter NHL lockout drags on.
As an unrestricted free agent goaltender who has emerged from the shadows to command the AHL spotlight with a record-setting shutout string, the Abbotsford Heat stopper is having a renaissance. And as much as a rotating three-goalie system should grate on any crease crusader, battling Brust has embraced the awkward challenge to such a degree that NHL teams in need have noticed.
At 29, Brust is suited for a backup role on a short contract to gain lasting trust, because his head is now as good as his game. That should interest the Vancouver Canucks on some level, if a shortened season is salvaged. They have promoted Cory Schneider to starter, need to deal Roberto Luongo and must find a backup to fill that void while Eddie Lack gets his game in order and gets over a hip strain.
Although Brust has appeared in just 11 career NHL games, and an eight-game suspension last season in the German elite league for cross-checking an exuberant goal scorer in the head made many wonder what was going on between his ears — he received an eye-popping 109 penalty minutes in 33 games — they now wonder how Brust has found his game again. And found patience with just one minor penalty.
A 6-1-0 record with the Heat — which includes three shutouts and 268 minutes, 17 seconds without allowing a goal to break Johnny Bower’s 55-year-old minor-league record — will command attention. So will a 0.99 goals-against average and .958 saves percentage. After all, his NHL bottom line is 2-4-1 with a 3.70 GAA and .878 saves percentage with the Los Angeles Kings.
Now Brust competes for ice time with Danny Taylor and Calgary Flames first-round pick Leland Irving.
“Three goalies have kind of been a blessing because I’ve been able to work with Jordan Sigalet so extensively and he’s refined my game,” Brust said of his goalie coach. “I’m still pretty aggressive in there, but it’s in a more calm direction and more focused. Having three goalies here wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t respect each other and embrace the situation.
“If there’s anything in our game, Jordan can get on it right away and the way he communicates with us is a big positive. It’s second to none.
“We all understand there’s a lockout going on and we’re thankful we have a place to play. A lot of good goalies out there are not even playing now.”
Despite a good 2010-11 season with the Binghamton Senators, Brust bolted to the Straubing Tigers of the German elite league and gained more notoriety for a loss of composure than winning as the club advanced to the postseason for the first time in franchise history. After Eisbaren Berlin forward Florian Busch scored en route to eliminating the Tigers, Brust took exception and pulled a Ron Hextall.
“They’re clamping down on hits to the head and I kind of got a little bit angered,” recalled Brust, a 2002 third-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild. “The guy was celebrating in my crease and I didn’t like it too much. I was sorry in the long run and it cost me $2,500 euros.”
Reuniting with Heat head coach Troy Ward while improving his fitness and level of expectation have provided Brust with the perfect platform to jump back into the NHL. Despite a sparkling 13-4-3-2 record, the Heat win by outworking the opposition, icing the top-ranked penalty kill and getting great goaltending. The offence was ranked 19th in the 30-team loop heading into weekend play — the Heat play Sunday afternoon against the Marlies in Toronto — and top-point producer Sven Baertschi, who’s out with a concussion, was 38th overall after 19 games with 17 points (6-11). It has placed a priority on goaltending.
“The way I’ve grown and the success I’ve had at AHL level, I’m ready to make the next step,” said Brust. “It’s going to take a few steps and a few bounces but I’m prepared for it.”
Much more than with the struggling Kings in the 2006-07 season, where Brust took but three AHL starts into his first NHL encounter. Promoted from the Manchester Monarchs because the Kings didn’t want to expose Jason LaBarbera and lose him to waivers, Brust was lit up in a 7-4 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Nov. 30. Two weeks later, when Dan Cloutier was injured in the warm-up, Brust made 34 saves in a 4-2 win over the Sharks in San Jose.
“My last NHL opportunity was given to me on luck and circumstance and it was a surprise thing for me to end up in L.A.,” admitted Brust. “I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and it was a good experience for sure, even though it was a tough gig for me. We had one of the worst teams in the league.”
Those Kings were the third-worst at 27-41-14, gave up the fourth-most goals and used five goalies — Sean Burke, Mathieu Garon, Yutaka Fukufuji, Brust and Cloutier. If anything, Brust’s agent Kurt Overhardt believes his client’s survival instincts could turn him into the next late-blooming goalie. Especially if that German loop suspension doesn’t overshadow a 19-12-0 season and 2.47 GAA and .916 saves percentage last season.
“He’s had nine lives,” said Overhardt. “He’s not that [suspended] guy. He’s not hotheaded and he’s also been very grounded and accountable. It’s always been up to him and now he’s proving it. The sky is really the limit for him.”
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Quoted via Rotoworld :
Barry Brust: Canucks could be interested in Barry Brust
Barry Brust - G - CAL - Dec. 10 - 9:05 am et
Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province thinks that the Vancouver Canucks could be interested in unrestricted free agent Barry Brust once the lockout is over.
Using the assumption that Roberto Luongo will be traded and Cory Schneider will become the Canucks top netminder, Vancouver will be in line for a backup goaltender and at 29, Brust could be a perfect match, both in quality and for salary cap reasons. Brust has been sensational this season in the AHL as he leads netminders with a 1.12 GAA and a .951 save percentage for the league-leading Abbotsford Heat to go with a 7-1-0 record. The 29-year-old could get a nice NHL contract out of this start. Dec. 10 - 9:05 am et
Edited by Visp, 10 December 2012 - 08:44 AM.