The Kings would neither confirm nor deny a report Friday that right wing Dustin Brown would have his captaincy taken away from him next season. The Canadian sports network TSN said on its website that Brown was told he would no longer be the Kings’ captain, a position he’s held since taking over for Rob Blake after the 2007-08 season.
“We’re not prepared to respond to these reports at this time,” said Michael Altieri, the Kings’ senior vice president for broadcasting and communications.
Brown captained the Kings to Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and ’14, but his statistics have dipped in recent seasons. He scored 11 goals in 2015-16 for the second consecutive season, matching his career low for a full 82-game campaign. He failed to top 30 points for the fourth consecutive season after recording 50 or more for five in a row. He set career highs with 33 goals and 60 points in 2007-08.
The 31-year-old Brown has six seasons remaining on an eight-year, $47-million contract he signed with the Kings in 2014.
If the Kings were to replace Brown as captain it’s likely that center Anze Kopitar would be his successor. Kopitar has led the Kings in scoring in each season since 2007-08 and is a finalist this season for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Key play: Anze Kopitar scored on a deflection 1:34 into overtime to give the Kings a 4-3 victory Thursday over the New York Rangers at Staples Center. Kopitar’s second goal of the game and fifth in two contests this season against the Rangers capped a rally from a 3-1 deficit in the third period. The victory enabled the Kings to extend their lead to six points over the Ducks in the Pacific Division.
Pivotal performer: Kings captain Dustin Brown scored one goal, assisted on another and had the puck swiped for still another. Brown scored the Kings’ first goal, assisted on their second and gave up the puck to set up Dan Boyle’s score for the Rangers that made it 2-1 in the second period.
Quote, unquote: “Yeah, we’re looking at the standings, but for us the most important thing is our play and our game,” Kopitar said. “If we take care of that, we believe we’ll be in good shape. It’s that time of the year. You’ve got to sharpen up. You’ve got to tighten up. We’re sitting pretty well, but what is it? Twelve games now? You want to make sure come mid-April you’re game is on. These are the games to sharpen up and get ready for the playoffs.”
Gone streaking: Brown’s first-period goal extended his scoring streak to three consecutive games, the first time he’s scored in that many games in a row since March 2013. Brown ended a 15-game goal drought when he scored Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Between the pipes: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was 6-2 with a 1.74 goals-against average in eight career games against the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist before Thursday. Lundqvist returned to the net after Antti Raanta was in goal for New York’s 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Ducks.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when a reporter asked whether it was good to see team captain Dustin Brown finally score his first goal of the season, in a 3-2 loss Tuesday to the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center: “Hopefully, he remembers how he did it. He’s got to play a power game. I’m not sure that was a part of his game tonight. The goal didn’t mean anything at the end.”
Here’s what Kings captain Dustin Brown said about scoring his first goal of the season during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center:
“Ultimately, it’s just about wins, but definitely from the back of your mind you can stop thinking about it. Hopefully, I can build on it and have a complete game. It always does (weigh on a player) as a guy who wants to score goals and is expected to score goals. You try not to think about it, but it definitely affects you when it gets longer than normal.”
Key play: Brad Richardson tapped a centering pass from Jordan Martinook into the net for the tie-breaking goal in the third period to lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-2 victory Tuesday over the Kings at Staples Center. Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb lost his stick on the play, allowing Richardson to camp out in front of Jonathan Quick’s net and to redirect the puck into the net at 11:47.
Pivotal performer: Kings winger Tyler Toffoli scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season, a power-play strike early in the second period. After only 15 games, Toffoli is nearly halfway to his career high of 23 goals, set last season in 76 games. Toffoli is tied for the league lead in goals.
Quote, unquote: “We were really sloppy in our own zone,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “Our coverage, and normally we’re very good at it, but the wingers need to be better.”
Hall of Fame honor: The Kings honored broadcaster Nick Nickson before the game, one day after he was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Nickson has worked for the Kings since 1981, a 35-season run that included calling Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and ’14.
Milestone moment: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty earned his career 210th assist on Dustin Brown’s first-period goal, moving past Lubomir Visnovsky for fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list. Steve Duchesne is third with 216 assists.
Lineup changes: Kings coach Darryl Sutter scratched defenseman Christian Ehrhoff for the second consecutive game. Ehrhoff has a minus-7 defensive rating to go with four assists in 13 games. Derek Forbort played in his place, as he did in Saturday’s victory over the Florida Panthers.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)
Kings coach Darryl Sutter called out Dustin Brown on Thursday morning, several hours before a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Staples Center. Sutter wasn’t happy with the Kings’ captain’s glaring lack of production during the season’s first 12 games.
“He hasn’t played really well lately,” Sutter said of Brown, who was held without a point in three games in a row and six of seven. “We’re getting into regular season performances. They’re based on not just this year, but over the last couple seasons. He needs to be a better player.”
Sutter also expressed disappointment in anyone and everyone who has played on either wing alongside center Anze Kopitar to start 2015-16. Sutter didn’t name names beyond Brown’s, but it was clear he was speaking of Marian Gaborik, among others.
Kopitar returned to the Kings’ lineup after taking an illegal check to the head from Ryan Reaves that forced him from a 3-0 victory Tuesday over the Blues in St. Louis. Reaves was penalized for roughing on the first-period hit and fined $3,024.19 by the NHL one day later.
“I feel good, and the tests are good, so I’m good to go,” Kopitar said Thursday.
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Here’s some of what Kings captain Dustin Brown said about the team’s play during Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center:
“Turnovers were the difference for us. They had a couple of goals that, I think, were off our players. Good teams create their own bounces. We had a lot of good chances around the net, and (Arizona goalie Mike) Smith did a good job for them. I don’t think they generated a whole lot on their own. It was off our turnovers.
“We know what we have to do. Again, everyone understands we had a lot of good things happen around the net offensively. Coming out of our zone we have two turnovers and they ended up in our net. It’s one of those things where … it’s not like we’re sitting here not knowing. We’re trying to clean it up.”
Kings captain Dustin Brown and left wing Milan Lucic avoided supplementary discipline from the NHL on Thursday after delivering a couple of debatable hits during Wednesday’s 5-1 season-opening loss to the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
Brown and Lucic each cracked the Sharks’ Logan Couture. Brown wasn’t penalized for what looked like a head-butt in the first period and Lucic received a match penalty in the third for charging after Couture and thumping him after receiving a hard, low but legal check moments earlier.
“I didn’t even know it was a big deal, really, until after the game,” Brown said. “I stopped. He was going north and I was going south. It wasn’t anything I thought was bad on the ice. You know on the ice when it’s borderline or not.”
Lucic’s match penalty resulted in an automatic suspension, pending a review by the league. The department of player safety then determined further punishment was not warranted and Lucic is free to join Brown and the rest of the Kings to play Friday against the Arizona Coyotes.
“I think that’s why I got a match, just because of who I am,” Lucic said. “If I made that hit (that Couture made) and someone came after me that way, he wouldn’t have gotten a match. It just comes with who you are. They review all that stuff, and there’s nothing that’s come of it.”
Anze Kopitar is entering the final year of his contract with the Kings, and if all goes as expected, he should receive a new deal sooner rather than later. The question is, when? Talks have produced nothing so far, with training camp underway Friday and the regular season set to begin Oct. 7. If he was feeling stressed about playing out the final year of his current deal, with a $6.8-million cap hit for 2015-16, Kopitar wasn’t showing it after his first practice with his teammates.
“You don’t think about it too much,” he said. “I’ve said it all along, it’d be nice if it was done before the season. But if it’s not, it’s really not that big of a deal. There’s still plenty of time left in that regard, too. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Asked if he’s open to continuing negotiations after the season begins, he said, “Actually, I haven’t thought about that yet. I don’t know.”
When asked whether he has an idea of what he would like in his new contract, he said, “We’ve got discussions, obviously. My agent (Pat Brisson) tells me everything that’s going on. There’s my input in there, too. It’s a two-way street.”