Kings coach Darryl Sutter talks about the play of team captain Dustin Brown

Kings captain Dustin Brown scored only his second goal and recorded just his second point in 13 games to start the season when he tallied during Tuesday’s victory over the Dallas Stars. The Kings expect more from him, although coach Darryl Sutter said Thursday he seen some improvement in Brown’s game recently.

“I think the last two or three games we’ve seen a little bit more of Dustin Brown,” Sutter said after the Kings’ morning skate Thursday in El Segundo. “Not because he’s scored, but more of that forceful game that we need out of him. The question gets asked often about Brownie, but Brownie has had success by playing a very certain way. That’s the way he has to play. When he gets away from playing that straight-line game, then he struggles. When he’s on that straight-line game and being a forecheck guy and a penalty-killer for us, then he’s really effective.”

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Kings captain Dustin Brown talks about a lackluster start, middle and finish

Here’s some of what Kings captain Dustin Brown said when asked if the Stanley Cup championship banner ceremony distracted the team during Wednesday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks: “We just didn’t play well. We weren’t very sharp moving the puck, coming out of our zone. It was hard to move it up the ice. We got stuck in our defensive zone. I think we’re just disappointed in the two points we lost.

“That’s what it comes down to, really.”

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Three things about the Kings loss to the Sharks in their season opener

Here are the first few paragraphs from my game story:

“The Kings raised their second championship banner in three seasons to the Staples Center rafters Wednesday night. Team captain Dustin Brown held the Stanley Cup high overhead as a roaring sellout crowd bellowed like it was June 13 all over again.

“Then somebody had to go and spoil a perfectly good party by dropping a puck onto the ice and starting a new season. Then the San Jose Sharks had to go and stick the puck in the back of Jonathan Quick’s net. Again and again and again and again.

“Tommy Wingels scored two goals and the Sharks earned a very small measure of revenge after last season’s playoff ouster at the hands of the Kings, taking a comprehensive 4-0 victory in the regular-season opening game for both teams.”

Here are three impressions about an uneven opening game:

First, the Kings turned in clunkers after each of their championship banner-raising ceremonies. They have been outscored 9-2 in losses to the Sharks on Wednesday and to the Chicago Blackhawks two seasons ago. So, what’s the answer? Not winning a Stanley Cup? Not celebrating it? Maybe the Kings could have the Lakers come in and talk to them about how to handle the distractions of such a ceremony. Then again, there aren’t many (any?) Lakers left who remember what that experience is like.

Second, the Kings have miles to skate before they can even think about recreating their incredible run to the Cup last spring. It was a long, slow process last season and it will be again in 2014-15. Patience is the order of the next few days and weeks, and maybe even months. Fans, players, coaches and reporters must realize it’s a process.

Third, the Sharks are pretty good. They’ve been humiliated by their playoff loss to the Kings last spring and they have plenty to prove this season. Don’t expect them to fold at every opportunity. Their collapse from a 3-0 series lead in the first round last spring was quite a pratfall, one they’ve been reminded of for, oh, probably every day since April.

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Kings questions and answers (part 5, expanded version)

Can the Kings maintain their focus during the regular season?

If the Kings have proved nothing else in recent seasons, it’s that the regular season doesn’t mean a whole lot. After all, they finished third in the Pacific Division and sixth in the Western Conference last season and had home-ice advantage in the playoffs only during their victory over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. They won three consecutive Game 7s on the road, no small feat. They didn’t seem to mind playing away from home in any circumstance, defying conventional wisdom.

In the end, the Kings won’t be playing for the Presidents Trophy as the team with the best regular-season record. They want to play for the Stanley Cup. The Presidents Trophy takes too much work and is nothing more than a consolation prize teams sell to their season-ticket holders after the club doesn’t win a championship. At least, that’s the Kings’ theory. Team captain Dustin Brown mentioned it recently, and he probably won’t be the last member of the team or the coaching staff to talk about it.

 

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Weekend links

Typewriter

Here is the best of the best writing on the Kings from the opening weekend of training camp, starting with Los Angeles News Groups columnist Mark Whicker’s look at Stanley Cup playoffs hero Alec Martinez: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140920/alec-martinezs-journey-with-los-angeles-kings-becomes-legendary

My look at the moves the Kings’ rivals in the West made during the summer: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140919/anaheim-ducks-the-west-bulk-up-to-challenge-los-angeles-kings

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times takes a look at defenseman Drew Doughty and his goal of winning the Norris Trophy here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-kings-drew-doughty-20140920-story.html

Dillman also catches up with captain Dustin Brown here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-dustin-brown-kings-20140922-story.html

In the Orange County, er, Los Angeles Register, Rich Hammond previews the Kings’ No. 1 goal in Monday’s split-squad exhibitions with the Arizona Coyotes: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/kings-635851-monday-home.html

 

 

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Marian Gaborik in his own words (part 2)

Marian Gaborik had this to say about his comfort level after joining Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and the rest of the Kings after a March 5 trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets: “The guys welcomed me warmly. Right away, I felt comfortable. That’s very important, to feel comfortable. To play along with ‘Kopi,’ he’s a great player … and then ‘Brownie,’ the way we clicked so quickly, it was great.”

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Dustin Brown admits he’s looking forward to Game 4 and a possible Cup clincher

Here’s what Kings captain Dustin Brown said of being one victory away from raising the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons: “I think it’s fair to say anybody who is not thinking about that going into next game is not being honest. At the same time, we’ve had the ability to not look too far ahead. We’re also had the experience of being through this same exact situation, being up 3-0, so we need to learn on each other and that experience and be focused and ready to go.”

Brown referred to 2012, when the Kings led the New Jersey Devils by 3-0 and had limos parked in front of Staples Center waiting to whisk the players off to a postgame celebration. The Devils rallied to win Games 4 and then 5 before the Kings finally could celebrate the franchise’s first Cup championship with a victory in Game 6. The date of that game was June 11. The date of Game 4 Wednesday is …

June 11.

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Anze Kopitar unhappy with his play in Game 1, but that’s news to Darryl Sutter

Kings center Anze Kopitar and winger Dustin Brown each said Friday he was unhappy with his play during a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. That was news to Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who had this to say when asked about Kopitar’s comment:

“I think ‘Kopi’ busts his ass every night, for lack of a better word. Somebody brought it up yesterday and it wasn’t ‘Kopi.’ “Kopi’ played more minutes, big minutes, than anybody on our team. In crucial situations he does it, so … He never has a bad game.”

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