Robinson looks forward after "devastating" injury
A goal and assist for Genting Casino Coventry Blaze forward Brett Robinson in a dominant 6-2 win over the Cardiff Devils in the Elite League playoff semi-final, all that was left to do was get one more win over a club whom he'd had much personal success against over the season.
The Blaze leading goal and points scorer lined up at center-ice, eye-to-eye with Matt Myers of the Nottingham Panthers, the club that stood between him and a second Championship under the stewardship of Head Coach Chuck Weber. Would he be the one to score the trophy winning goal like six years before in Cincinnati?!
"What an amazing atmosphere," thought the 31-year-old pro of over 340 ECHL games as the puck dropped to start the 2016 Elite League Playoff final.
And then - disaster struck.
"It was my second shift of the finals," recalled Robinson. "I chipped the puck behind the net and braced myself against the boards for the hit. A simple play, or so I thought. I got hit in an awkward way and was sandwiched. The hit separated my shoulder right on my A/C joint. It was devastating."
Robinson would try desperately to come back in the second period but it wasn't to be for the Ontario native.
"Watching that final was the toughest thing I've had to do. The boys battled so hard and not being able to help almost killed me."
The Blaze went on to lose the game in heartbreaking fashion by a score of 2-0 as the Nottingham Panthers lifted the trophy.
"If we could of had a couple bounces go our way it would have been a different result," said Robinson. "I felt like overall in the final we didn't have the same flow or chemistry as in our previous playoffs games. But that's most likely a result of how Nottingham played. A great team and well deserved."
Back home for the summer with wife Ashley and Goldendoodle Bella (pictured below), Brett says he will be ready to go on return to Coventry in August.
"With the physical therapy that I started and will have to continue throughout the summer, I will be 100% healthy for the start of the season."
28 goals, 45 assists for 73 points in 69 games (all-competitions) is quite the record for a player who by his own self-admission did not start the season as he would have hoped. The most impressive statistics of Robinson's first season playing in Europe perhaps is that he finished second only to Cardiff's league MVP Joey Martin (43) for points in Erhardt Conference games (36).
"I am of course happy with being the team's top goal and points scorer especially considering my slow start, something that I plan to correct this coming season! It's tough for me to consider last season a success though when you don't come away with any trophies. Winning is what matters to me the most and how I measure success. The Blaze fans along with the great management deserve a successful season. I'm definitely proud of having the 2nd most points in the Erhart Conference. I believe it's the better of the two and I pride myself on playing my best, against the best. Anytime you can be in the same category as Joey Martin you're doing something right as he's a great player."
Pointing back to his, and indeed his teammates "slow start" the Blaze number 23 who scored a team-leading nine first goals and also three game-winning-goals reflected:
"It took me time to adjust for sure. I would have to say the toughest thing for anyone new to the Elite league would be the travel. Having to ride the bus up to Scotland 8 hours before playing a game is a huge adjustment. Your legs are in shock! But after a few trips you start to figure out what works best for you and learn how to get yourself ready for each game. With such a great core of players returning and knowing what to expect from the league it's only going to help us get off to a great start."
For Robinson, he says it was an easy decision for him to sign up for a second season in Coventry as part of that returning to core.
"It's an honour to be asked back for the coming season. From day one, my wife Ashley and I have been treated extremely well. The Blaze management and staff did everything they could to accommodate us, and it made our transition a lot easier. When James (Pease) came to me with a contract for next season it was an easy decision for us. I'm looking forward to getting back to the Skydome and giving the fans a lot more RobboMania!"
On his experience of playing in the British Elite League, his first season in Europe, the Canadian commented:
"I was very impressed with the level of play in the Elite League last season and I believe it will only continue to get better. I didn't really know what to expect but with so many ex-NHLers and many talented players from across Europe it was definitely a battle every night.
"Another thing that was overly impressive was the commitment of the fans. Especially the Blaze fans and the atmosphere of that finals weekend. It was also great to see some many talented Brits throughout the league as well, although I was spoilt seeing some of the best every day, guys like Tait, Cowley and Venus. And also watching the growth of Clements and Marr - the future is very bright for Great Britain!"
When Robinson returns to the Skydome Arena in August, it will be to play under a new Head Coach in the form of 37-year-old Canadian Danny Stewart who replaces Chuck Weber behind the Blaze bench. Last season's Coaches Player of the Year concludes saying he looks forward to working under the new boss.
"I'm excited to get the season started and get working with Danny. I've talked to him on the phone and have heard what his plans and expectations are for this coming season and it's refreshing. I knew him as a player and he is a fierce competitor. He's got a lot of energy and that's contagious which is a great thing."
Article: Craig Summerton (@block15blaze)