There is a moment in your life, and it happens pretty early, when you have a birthday but for some reason your party is held another day that is more convenient. That is like winning player of the week. Plenty of people congratulate you at the time but, the official stuff? The presents? They come later. So it will be with T.J. Brennan, CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the opening frame of the season. The AHL will provide the hardware that goes with the award at a later game.
While there is always a worthy slate of bodies after each weekend, including the Marlies own Trevor Smith who was rewarded with a call up, Brennan stood out with his hat trick and four point night in the home opener versus the Calder Cup champion Griffins. (Yes, this is when being champions can wear on a team the next year, when you lose and every game you lose is referenced as you being previous champions) His explanation of ‘just trying to get the puck to the net’ is like the guys who built the Concorde saying they were just trying to get from A to B. He added another two points on Sunday in the 5-1 Monster mash including an assist on what turned out to be the game winner.
Brennan’s shot is sound barrier stuff. It thunders off his stick and actually makes a most impressive noise when it misses everything and slams off the boards. Lacrosse players tend to have that extra jam on their shots that comes from working muscles differently but similarly. Brennan had some scholarship interest for his field skills with the long pole (the defensive guys in field lacrosse carry the big sticks) but chose to go through junior hockey and ended up with the St. John’s Fog Devils. Brian Rogers who was the Fog Devils broadcaster remembers steady progression.
“Tremendous young player a who just got better and better as the year went along and by the time the season was over, you could see that he was well on his way to becoming a pro.”
The New Jersey native has been described as slow growth with a 1989 birth date but that is more than permissible timeline in the world of defencemen.
“It’s a huge thing to be honest with yourself and know where you stand in your career and where you want to go,” Brennan said. “For me personally? When opportunities come along I really want to take advantage of them.”
Fans, general managers, coaches, heck everyone in the game can get caught up in straight lines but as T.J. Brennan is proving, there is another way.
“Everyone has a different path. Obviously I would have liked to have been an 18 year old in the NHL and killing it but sometimes you gotta take the path less traveled.”
Brennan speaks wise and patient words and with a week like last one, his path ought to lead right where he wants it.