Flames pick Brossoit aims to be even better
Memorial Cup is next stage for Oil Kings goalie
By Scott Cruickshank, Calgary Herald
May 17, 2012 4:03 AM
Laurent Brossoit, a year ago, was thrilled to hear a single person utter his name.
The voice belonged to Calgary Flames director of scouting Tod Button, who had let the world know that the kid was the National Hockey League club's sixth-round selection.
Which was an awfully sweet moment.
The name-calling has been upgraded substantially, in numbers and volume. Brossoit knows the feeling of hearing thousands of fans screaming out his initials - "L.B.! L.B.! L.B.!" - at Rexall Place.
"They started a little L.B. chant whenever I make a half-decent save or a big save," said Brossoit, star netminder of the Edmonton Oil Kings. "It got pretty carried away (during the playoffs) and they started running with it. It wasn't (only) after saves, it was random. It's honestly the greatest feeling to have the support from so many fans. It's a pretty cool feeling to have that many people chanting your name. Definitely something to be proud of."
(Unlike his patchy playoff beard - "A dirt 'stache on my lip, a little something under my chin.")
The chanting is over - at least for this season - but the games are not. The Oil Kings edged the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League's championship series to earn a berth in the Memorial Cup, which will be contested far from adoring fans.
Wednesday morning, the Edmontonians travelled to Shawinigan, Que. But by now, Brossoit realizes, chants or not, that he's solid. Named most valuable player of the WHL final, the Surrey, B.C., native rattled off manly numbers during the Oil Kings' run to the championship tourney - 16-4 record, 2.04 goals-against average, .933 save percentage, two shutouts.
"You don't want to take too much time to think about that kind of stuff," said Brossoit, who turned 19 in March - and who, thanks to the playoff push (and 42-13-5 regular season), has muscled his way into Canada's world junior conversation. "It's a great accomplishment for myself, but we're not done. I'm going to wait till after the Memorial Cup to take a step back and take it all in.
"I'm going to build on the MVP that I got and hope I can play even better."
The Oil Kings open Friday against the host Cataractes. Monday, they face the Saint John Sea Dogs, and they conclude the round-robin Tuesday against the London Knights.
For Brossoit and his chums, there is zero familiarity with the enemy. Which is fine.
"Our focus is always on ourselves," said the six-foot-three, 205-pounder. "Obviously, we try to prepare and watch some video, try to find some tendencies of other teams, but our main focus is to focus on our game. We think we can beat anyone if we play our game to the best of our abilities.
"There's a lot of hype about how good those teams are. But you've got to go in there with swagger and realize that they're probably just as nervous to play us as we are to play them."
Brossoit was asked to speculate what the other contenders - Saint John and Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, London of the Ontario Hockey League - might expect from the WHL's entry.
"I think they see the potential we have," he said. "How deep we are - every line that goes out there, we have faith that they can make something happen. We have a strong defensive core. And as long as I'm doing my part, everyone's looking at us as a brandnew, young team to be afraid of."
The WHL final had featured three plums from the Flames' cupboard - Brossoit for Edmonton; Sven Baertschi and Tyler Wotherspoon for Portland. But, during a tight sevengame series, none was caught daydreaming about a red-clad reunion on Saddledome ice.
"You have to do well in the present to get to the future, you know what I mean?" said Brossoit. "You have to do well now to play in the NHL. So I just focus on right now. You don't want to look too far ahead."
However, through the magic of Twitter, Flames boosters have expressed their love to @LBrossoit.
"You have a lot of Calgary fans showing their support, letting us know that they're watching," he said. "I didn't really get too nervous about it. I used it in a positive way."
C-NOTES: The Young Stars tourney in Penticton, B.C. - a rookiecamp event featuring the prospects of the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Flames, among others - has been cancelled.
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