Here’s the link to the report from TSN: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=439473
The Kings lost team captain Dustin Brown for the better part of the final two periods of their 4-1 victory Thursday over the San Jose Sharks. Brown drew a five-minute kneeing major and a game misconduct after colliding with the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl late in the opening period. Brown could face a suspension from the NHL.
Or not. Predictably, opinions varied as to the legality of the play.
At first glance, it seems Kings left wing Dustin Brown is playing his usual game. He leads the team with 94 hits in 25 games. He has 69 shots on goal and has played an average of 17 minutes, 25 seconds per game.
He simply isn’t producing goals and assists as he might in a normal season, however. Brown goes into Wednesday game against the Sharks in San Jose with nine points (four goals, five assists). That projects to only 30 points in 82 games, which would be his fewest since he had 28 points in 79 games in 2005-06. He had 29 points in 46 games during the lockout-shortened 48-game season in 2012-13. His career-best is 60 points in 78 games in 2007-08.
What’s troubling for the Kings is that Brown’s streak of 50 points or more in five consecutive full seasons is in serious jeopardy unless something changes dramatically the rest of the way.
The Kings had a strong Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs connection for Thursday’s game against Buffalo, with 10 former Monarchs in the lineup. The Kings’ AHL alums were: Dustin Brown, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, Slava Voynov and Jonathan Quick,
Thanks to the Kings’ crack media relations staff for that statistic.
The Kings’ penalty-killing unit gave up two first-period power-play goals to the Nashville Predators during Saturday’s 4-3 loss. Coach Darryl Sutter later questioned the effectiveness of defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell, and even wondered about Jonathan Quick’s play in goal. The Kings have given up at least one power-play goal in six consecutive games.
The quality of the Kings’ penalties was lacking in the early going, however. Daniel Carcillo went to the box for kneeing on a play some 150 feet from his own net. Kyle Clifford followed him later after taking a boarding penalty in the neutral zone, more than 100 feet from his own goal.
“Those are penalties you don’t want,” team captain Dustin Brown said, speaking generally about penalties in the offensive and neutral zones rather than specifically about Carcillo’s and Clifford’s infractions. “We have to be smarter, that’s for sure. We’ve also got to kill penalties off at the end of the day.”
The Kings hit the road Thursday for a four-game trip that starts Friday in Raleigh, N.C., lugging some serious baggage after four games to start the season. Here’s the first of three things to watch during an eight-night trek to play the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators:
The Kings’ scoring depth isn’t what it should be, or could be, or needs to be. You could gloss over it if this wasn’t a concern last season, and the season before, and the season before. It’s a pattern that’s been repeated again and again. The Kings have scored 11 goals in four games, less than three per game. Jeff Carter has scored four times and Dustin Brown twice. No one else has more than one. In fact, only four other players have scored. The best teams all have good scoring depth, the Kings aren’t there just yet.
The Kings built a three-goal lead, but lost it Wednesday to the Ottawa Senators. They established a rhythm and flow to their game, but they lost their way along with their edge. Then, with one fortunate bounce, the Kings salvaged a 4-3 overtime victory on Jeff Carter’s power-play goal 28 seconds into the extra period.
Kings captain Dustin Brown answered a few questions about this and that after Sunday’s practice. Then someone asked about the bulky knee brace he’s been wearing since suffering an injury during the playoffs last spring. Finishing a sports drink, he looked at the brace hanging in his locker stall and then at the trash can where he was about to drop the empty bottle. The implication was clear. He then said of the team’s training staff, “If it were up to me, it would be gone tomorrow (but) they want me to wear it.”
Left wing Dustin Brown didn’t want to dump on the Kings’ plans for their big opening-night extravaganza Monday at Staples Center. The New York Rangers are in town for the home opener, but it’s just another game, as far as Brown is concerned, and with good reason. Said Brown after Sunday’s practice: “Once you’ve won a championship, it’s not the same. I mean, home openers were a lot more exciting before we won.”