Brown, on what the Kings need

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Here’s what Dustin Brown had to say today about the Kings’ needs and his thoughts about where they’re headed. It’s been an interesting year for Brown. From a media perspective, he has become a lot more forceful and outgoing, in a positive way, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the “C” on his jersey. That letter carries weight and responsibility, and from a media standpoint, Brown has fulfilled those responsibilities. He’s always visible and available to talk, which I can’t say about all recent Kings captains.

Brown also said that his plans for the World Championships were uncertain, because he needs to get his back checked out. He estimated that he’s been playing with some back pain for roughly three months. Frolov, as I should have noted earlier, said he will play for Russia. Anyway, here are Brown’s thoughts from today…

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Question: If Dean Lombardi comes to you and asks you what this team needs in order to improve, what do you tell him?

BROWN: “From a personnel standpoint right now, what sticks out in my mind is left wing. I’m playing left wing, and I have no problem playing left wing, but I think Terry prefers me on right wing. I’ve played the last 15 games or so on the left, and it has definitely taken some time to get adjusted to. We also had Zeus (Michal Handzus) playing left wing, and he’s a natural center. He’s been one of our better centers this year and he’s great on faceoffs. He was playing left wing for five or six games. We got rid of Cammy (Michael Cammalleri) last year, and with Sully (Patrick O’Sullivan) getting dealt at the deadline this year, it feels like, from a personnel standpoint or a positional standpoint, it’s left wing.”

Question: That question is not meant as disrespect to anyone in the room, of course…

BROWN: “No, not at all. But when you look at our lineup, Fro (Alexander Frolov) plays left wing, but I would prefer the right side and I think Zeus would prefer to play center obviously. We were putting one of our best faceoff men on the wing, so that obviously shows a need.”

Question: Do you get the sense that if a big scorer arrived, the team would feel a bit like, “OK, now we’ve got what we need”?

BROWN: “I think it’s a mixture of that and, at the same time, having our team come together. What we did this year was a step in the right direction, but you look at our team and I think we can still get a lot more from everyone in the room. We had Dewey (Drew Doughty) and Simmer (Wayne Simmonds) and Oscar (Moller) come in and they played well, but I think everyone else’s point production was down. Not that it’s all about points, but it was a transition period with new systems and obviously we made a real good push on defense and the PK. The closer we get together, the more we’ll push and the more we’ll get from everyone, myself included, plus Kopi and Fro, those top guys. I still think we have room to grow.”

Question: Expectations, at least from outside the organization, weren’t high this season. Not many people expected you to make the playoffs. I get the impression that next season will be different, that the Kings will be looked at as a team ready, if not expected, to take that next step. Is that your expectation as well?

BROWN: “That was our feeling this year. You look at the core group here, and we’re all growing together. We’ve all been here for at least a couple years, and we added Stolly (Jarret Stoll) and Greener (Matt Greene) to that mix, and Zeus, and now we have OD (Sean O’Donnell) locked up for another year. We have a pretty good group of guys, and I think this summer will be important. We’re trying to grow together, and we’re going to try to get some guys in here on a consistent basis to work out and be together. That’s the most important thing, for the team aspect. This year was an exciting year for everybody, but at the same time, disappointing. Terry came in, in his first year, and he’s getting to know everyone and we’re getting to know him, and there were new faces that are going to be a part of this team for years to come. So it’s just a matter of becoming a close-knit group.”

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  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    A back problem?

    Hmmmmm. That’s news to me. But, that would explain his lack of production down the stretch.

    At this point, it’s satisfying to hear that he considers this year disappointing. The Kings as a whole have needed to take the expectation step forward, and as Captain Brown has needed to lead the way.

    Of course, the Kings need a left wing, left wing, left wing…

    The only question is: Will the presence of -left wing-(fill in the blank) elevate the others to score to their potential?

  • jet

    since half of next year’s team will be 2nd year players, I found this comment interesting. (from tsn)

    Question No. 2: In the annual NHL on TSN pre-season poll, 10 NHL general managers picked the Edmonton Oilers to be the most improved team in the West. Who is to blame for the Oilers’ disappointing season? Is it management? Is it the veteran players (Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner) or the youngsters (Sam Gagner, Kyle Brodziak, Robert Nilsson, Andrew Cogliano)?

    Ray Ferraro: There is always enough culpability to go around when you don’t make the playoffs, but this is management’s fault here, when you look at the way that the team was constructed. They had way too many expectations that their second year players were all going to improve. When is the last time that happened? Never. Aside from the players that didn’t produce, the team that was put together was nowhere near as good as the Oilers management thought.

  • Kevco

    What the team needs is on offense that does not keep the puck on the boards! We spend half of our power play with the puck on the boards! Watch SJ this weekend, I bet the pass the puck and shoot it, us not so much!

    Please bring in a system that shoots the puck!

  • Quisp

    jet –

    so true. and expectations have a way of freaking people out. the kings will have expectations next season that they didn’t have this season. however they will also have HOSSA. Sorry, I’m going for the power of positive thinking.

  • Bernie9

    Quisp said:

    “HOSSA”

    What about a draft day deal for Kovalchuk? Kovalchuk-Kopitar-Frolov might be a pretty good line…

  • josh e.

    Only problem with kovalchuk-kopitar-frolov is that frolov and kovalchuk would both be free agents in 2010 and we wouldnt be able to sign both of them I’m sure. But its a definite temporary solution haha

  • variable

    brownie has been scoreless for the last 11 games…i guess finding out that he’s finally admitted to being injured explains that a bit…he played less than 14mins at vancouver yesterday, so i don’t expect him to play too much more tomorrow…

    about 2nd year players:

    very good quote from chicken parm, jet…(chicken parm jet…sounds like a band name)…

    the sophomore jinx/slump is something that our young players have to look past and not even worry about…

    it’s encouraging that both brownie and fro were not satisfied about this year’s results…whatever “buy-in” factor d.l. has asked for, he’s getting…and he’s getting it from his top players…it might not have translated into tons ‘o’ goals/points…but having a team on the same page for the first time in a while is a very positive sign…

    in reality, we are not going to finish much better than we did last season….but the improvements we made this year are the ones we needed to improve on…namely GA/SHOTS AGNST/PP/PK/HITS/FACE OFF%/BLOCKED SHOTS….

    so what ever this team has learned how to do this season, it’s much more important now that they don’t forget how to do this next season, as they look to matriculate towards and into the playoffs by adding to this mixture certain attributes such as: improving goal production, consistent effort, balanced line attack, less giveaways…

    congratulations to the st. louis blues as the clinched a playoff spot tonight…

    very happy for andy murray and what he has done with a myriad of injuries (something that always seems to plague his teams)and still get to the post-season…

    p.o.s. scored a goal tonight vs. a very, very depleted calgary flames lineup…(they dressed only 15)…i think p.o.s had 8 shots on goal and a couple of those were grade-a chances…

    i cannot believe there’s not more canadian press/fan outrage on how darryl sutter has done a terribly poor job in handling his team’s cap issues…this was the fifth game in a row his team was unable to dress the maximum number of players…i’m sure keenan is biting on those ice chips harder than ever before…scandalous…!

  • Bring Back the Shield Jersey

    Back pain, playing out of position, off-ice issues, new coach, new system, captaincy-a lot to handle.

    I think the Kings’ rookies will be better next year. One reason being is that, for the forwards, none of them are “star” offensive players that catch the opposition by surprise year one, but then are focussed on, and shut down, during year two. Kopi always draws the opposition’s top defenders and shut-down forward. Thus will Simmonds, Purcell, Moller? have a bit more freedom to grow.

    For the defense, you don’t hear so much about a “sophomore slump” for D-men. They grow more confident, the games slows down, and if they’ve played pretty consistently with the same partner they are able to act more in tandem (ex, knowing where to drop the puck off for your partner when under pressure). Hopefully, and it was my sence that this is the case, management has put DD and DD together for exactly this reason.

  • seabass

    So what do we do about LW? Kovi, Hudler, Franzen? Who else is available at LW?

    It makes sense that Brown’s production has fallen off as he’s been playing with pain and out of position. Nobody wants to hear excuses, but hopefully we can address it.

    I assume Moulson isn’t close enough to fill the need there.

  • Quisp

    seabass -

    Moulson could make the team. The problem is, he’s a UFA this summer, so they would have to sign him first. And he’s skilled enough to set up shop elsewhere.

    I have irrational hope that Wudrick will be the surprise of next year’s camp. Lewis and Purcell can play left wing. Frolov, obviously. And then whoever we sign as a UFA.

  • AK47

    TM should re-unite the Richardson-Handzus-Simmonds line for the last game of the year.. It was really a nice line, don’t you guys agree?

    Hopefully we re-sign Jack Johnson and Frolov to long term contracts. Acquire a sexy top liner (hossa, havlat, gaborik) andddd last but not least, hopefully Trevor Lewis makes the team next year..

  • AK47

    DL seems to always be interested in injury prone players (Handzus, Williams etc..) so this pretty much means that we will be going hard for Marian Gaborik..

    Yes, I did the math all by myself :)

  • Marc Nathan

    Whether it was “on the record” or “off the record,” I’m sure he’d have felt that Cammalleri and/or O’Sullivan would have been just fine on the left going into next season… Lombardi’s personal issues play more of a part in this deficit than not. Most Kings fans seemed very quick to accept the loss of both of these guys, one for financial reasons and one for reasons beyond my comprehension despite the fact that I get that he had an off-season, but was clearly not a Terry Murray favorite. Colten Teubert wasn’t a big “need” on the Kings wish-list, and giving up Demitra for O’Sullivan and Lewis and then disposing of O’Sullivan for a guy whose two thirty goal seasons were masqued by playing extremely weak Southeastern opponents more (weighted schedule) and of course his complete inability to stay healthy over the last 2 years… well, it just means we have to put the past behind us and watch what move he has to make now, and what asset he may have to give up, when he clearly didn’t have to if he had set his personal issues aside and looked at the makeup of the team.

    I’m really REALLY curious how Brown and the other players felt about losing O’Sullivan. (and I don’t really need to hear about his Oiler stats. I know they sucked, but I’m sure it was a bit of a jolt leaving a comfort zone when he did, and joining MacT and the frozen tundra of Alberta… He’ll have a rebound season next year.)

  • cristobal

    There is a “culture” problem in Los Angeles.
    The reason I doubt Lombardi so much is that it’s hard to shed a “loser” mentality once it starts to grab hold.
    The reason I support the work done by Taylor is that he’s given us Fro/Kopi/Brown/Quick/Lubo/Boyle/Cammy/by extension O’Sullivan and those guys, the young ones, were supposed to be the bridge into a winning culture. Instead, they’ve been subjected to some of the Kings worst seasons ever (franchise records for being shutout/ and the misdirected and uninformed criticism of the fans).

    Terry Murray is fundamentally getting it wrong when breaking down what goes wrong on many plays.
    That is a huge concern for me.

    My hope is that the drafting of Lombardi proves to have been savvy and that Hickey and Teubert and Voinov are all very good players (hickey I have my doubts about).

    I don’t know what’s coming offensively, but these young Kings (Fro/Kopi/Brown/Johnson/Doughty/Quick) are the core for now. I guess I could add Stoll and Green in there too because I like them very much.) need some effective players and whether that comes in the form of a Hossa (i don’t think it’s the answer, although I’d love to have him come) or some other form of help in terms of a package of players.

    Doesn’t anyone want to praise Dan Bylsma???
    I am ecstatic for the guy…

  • src3

    Hey to all the Guros out there. Wouldnt Hartnell be the perfect fit? grit, 30 goals and only 4.2/year for 3 more years. PHI needs to dump salary! And resign Fro for 4 years at 5/year.

    Plan 1- sign HOSSA
    plan 2-Sign a M.A.S.H. unit member (Gabby, Havlat)
    plan 3-trade for Hartnell, since Franzen will most likely sign with DET.

    ps-no Philly connection comments please. The guy fits the mold regardless of which team he plays for. He is always around the front of the net.

  • nykingfan

    A thought on the 2nd year player issue.
    The key’s there are Doughty and Quick. You can’t afford to have a major drop in play from those 2 and expect to succeed.
    Also take into account that next year we’ll be expecting much bigger things offensively from Brown/Kopitar/Frolov and other veterans who didn’t pull their weight for whatever reasons.
    Hopefully their expected rise in production will more than offset the lack of production from some 2nd year guys. We’re all hoping for a big time offensive talent to be brought on board as well….It should make the drop off in play of the younger kids less obvious.

  • Cricket

    Cristobal,

    What is there to doubt about DL when talking about shedding a loser mentality? That’s why he brought in OD, Stoll, Greene, Williams. All of those guys have at least made it to the Cup Finals, and two of them won. And the kids on our team who haven’t been to the playoffs have had WJC exp (Moller, Doughty, Johnson, Brown, Simmonds, Voynov, Hickey, Teubert). He said it would a be a rebuild, and so far, that’s what it’s been. And I’m not at odds with the losing seasons. We got Doughty, and it’s been easier to watch than the nosedive season right before the lockout where at one point the team was 2nd in the West and then dropped out of the playoffs all together.

    At least now we do have a reserve list, and the next season will be really interesting trade wise. And I’m all for Hartnell. I’d be stoked. I also wonder about Heatly, lately, but I doubt he’s available.

  • Johnny Utah

    So let me get this straight…we can’t score to save our lives. DB has been in a scoring slump for 15-20 games. DB has been playing left wing for 15+ games. DB says he is not comfortable playing left wing.

    At what point does TM switch him back to right wing??!!!

    Why is TM so slow to evaluate talent, and even slower to admit he made a mistake?

    Again…I applaud his ability to teach this team defense, but his forward lineups (not to mention his JLB/Calder/Harrold favoritism) are absolutely mind boggling.

  • nykingfan

    Johnny Utah

    If not Brown, then who?