It's been unofficial for a week now, but today your Binghamton Senators announced they've agreed to a 1 year AHL deal with Barry Brust.
If you haven't been keeping up with your stash of goalies this summer, you have Mike Brodeur (no relation) as the likely starter, and Swedish prospect Robin Lehner, who put up respectable numbers in the OHL last season, slated to turn pro. So Brusty is, for now, probably #5 in the minds of the muckity mucks in the Sens organization, and unless Lehner really effs it up, he'll probably start in the ECHL with the Elmira Jackals.
Though depending on the organization's devotion to Lehner and whether he struggles some in the transition to the pros, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Brusty come up and Lehner spend some time in Elmira much the way CHRIS HOLT! moved up and down last season.
I thought I'd provide a little scouting report on Brusty for B-Sens and Elmira fans out there wondering who this big goalie is and what his game is like if you don't remember him from his time in Manchester and Reading. But I won't even pretend to be objective; I gave up on that ages ago. Take it for the fangirl fawning that it is.
Brusty is my all time favorite goalie ever. And I really love goalies. So to be at the top of that heap is pretty special. But here's why I love the guy and why you will, too:
- He's got brass ones. He plays a very aggressive game, with lots of big poke checks, playing the puck, and defending his crease. I've seen him play through all manner of injuries, including a giant skate slice that required something like 30 stitches during intermission, and then came back out to finish the final 2 periods of the game. Hard core, bitches.
- He's big and athletic. His strengths lie in his size, his strong ability to read plays (hockey sense, yo), his quick reflexes, and his innate athleticism. I watch him play and sometimes think, "Um, hey, Brusty. Puck. Puck. Right there. Look alive." and then BOOM, he's on it. Which is to say, he's got a very calm demeanor, doesn't have any excessive movement in his game (other than the pad tapping), but when it's go-time, he gets the job done. So, even if his relaxed style bothers you at first, you'll come to trust it, I promise.
- He's entertaining, both on and off the ice. His game is keep-a-defibrillator-handy exciting, but he's also pretty funny off the ice. Plenty of good war stories and a great sense of humor. Reporters love him for providing good, sincere, non-cliched quotes. Fans love him for just being a swell, easy going guy. My favorite Aeros game broadcasts were back in the day when Brusty was out with some injury for a while and he'd provide color during the games. Check out the videos to the right for more funny Brusty goodness.
- He makes teams better. I guess I've established that he's a good goalie already, but if you've never had a goalie who was a strong puck mover and could nail stretch passes to your defense or even forwards to help the breakout, you're not going to believe how useful and rare that skill is. He not only shuts things down defensively, but helps the offensive side of your team's game as well.
We must increase our Brust
Photo by Chris Jerina
- He's foxy. He is. It matters! Foxy goalies are way funner than non-foxy goalies. Look at him! Gah. *big sigh*
- His glove. Brusty's glove hand is quick and nasty. Many times, I haven't even seen the shot go off before it's in his glove. I dunno what it is, but damn, a good, split second flash of the leather sends me into orbit. Wear your seatbelts.
- His PIM. He doesn't put up with any crap in his crease. He'll give a jab or a whack or whatever he needs to do to keep the pesky kids off his lawn. Sometimes this annoys players. :) And where most goalies will skate off by themselves when things get heated around the net, Brusty skates into the scrum and tries to help his teammates. He hasn't gotten into a fight as pro though, and if it happens up there, I'm gonna say right here and now that I hate you all.