For former Leamington Flyers defenceman T.J. Brodie of the Calgary Flames, games against the Detroit Red Wings, such as Wednesday's meeting at the Scotiabank Saddledome, are always circled on his calendar.
"I was always a Red Wings fan growing up," said Brodie who is from Chatham. "They were so successful and with how close it was to home, I got to come to some games when I was younger.
"I always liked them and it was sort of cool to watch them win a couple of Cups."
Brodie, who shows 1-5-6 numbers in 23 games with Calgary this season, still maintains fond memories of his 2006-07 stint with the Flyers.
"It was fun playing there, and without playing there, I might not be where I am today," said Brodie, who played for coach Butch Ott, father of Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott, while in Leamington. "I'm thankful for everything that they did for me.
"I think it was good for me to play there. I got a lot of ice and was able to sort of grow as a player both on and off the ice. It helped me make the next jump up to the OHL (with the Saginaw Spirit) the next year."
Meanwhile, the Red Wings will take their latest look at right-winger Gustav Nyquist, called up from Grand Rapids, where he was leading the AHL in scoring with 27-33-60 totals in 57 games. He's expected to skate on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen.
"If that's the case for the game than it's going to be a great opportunity for me," Nyquist said, "It's really exciting to be playing with guys like that. I'm just going to try and make the best out of it."
There's been plenty of calls from the peanut gallery for Nyquist's return to the NHL, but he tried not to get frustrated and keep his nose to the grindstone "No, you can't think about it too much," Nyquist said.
"You have to focus on working hard down there and showing them that you want to be up there. But at the same time, the guys have had gotten the chance so far - I mean, Andy (Joakim Andersson), Tats (Tomas Tatar) and Smitty (Brendan Smith) and Lash (Brian Lashoff) on the D side - have done a great job. They've really shown that they can play up here too."
Scoring is what the goal-starved Red Wings require and that's exactly the element of his game that Nyquist has worked the most on while in Grand Rapids.
"This year I think I'm starting to shoot the puck a little bit more," he said.
"I've tried to work on that and go to the net a little bit harder. I think I've scored a few more goals this year than I did last year down there. That's what I'm going to try to bring with me up here."
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