Dustin Brown telling it like it is about Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick

The Kings beat the Ducks 3-1 in Game 2 to take a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-7 series. The Ducks outshot the Kings 37-17 and played most of the final two periods in their end of the rink. How did the Kings win? Kings captain Dustin Brown knows, and it’s nothing he hasn’t seen before Monday night,.

“We found a way to squeak one out because we have the best goalie in the world in our goal,” Brown said. “They had the better chances, more chances, more opportunities. Jonathan Quick just finds ways to make saves. They were all over us, especially in the second and we found a way to win because of Jonathan Quick.”

So, now you know.

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Kings experience in Game 7s is limited

For all their recent playoff experience, the Kings’ track record in Game 7s is rather limited. Defenseman Robyn Regehr has played in the most Game 7s with five listed on his resume. Several other key players, including center Anze Kopitar, team captain Dustin Brown, center Jarret Stoll and goaltender Jonathan Quick, have played in only one winner-take-all game.

The Kings’ Game 7 experience is rather thin as a franchise, too. They have played in only eight Game 7s in their history, winning four and losing four. They won their most recent Game 7, taking a 2-1 victory from the San Jose Sharks in the decisive game of their second-round series last spring. The Kings and Sharks face off again in Game 7 of their first-round series on Wednesday in San Jose’s SAP Center.

The opening faceoff is at 7 p.m.


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Kings captain Dustin Brown is a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award

Kings captain Dustin Brown was named one of three finalists Tuesday for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, which is presented “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season. Mark Messier solicits suggests from team and league personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of candidates. The selection of the three finalists and the winner are his alone. The winner will be announced June 24.

Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the other finalists.

Brown, a Messier Award finalist for the third time, was singled out for his charitable work with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and also KaBoom!, which built a playground in Carson that’s visited by more than 100 kids per day.


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Increased expectations mean playoff-clinching win is no big deal for Kings

Here’s Kings captain Dustin Brown’s reaction to the Stanley Cup playoff-clinching victory Wednesday over the Phoenix Coyotes: “With the evolution of this team, maybe four or five years ago, this was a big deal. Now, it’s just part of the process. It’s good to get it out of the way and get our game going. There’s nothing to celebrate about making the playoffs. It’s not a goal, it’s an expectation.”

The usually empty Kings’ dressing room was emptier than usual after their 4-0 rout of the Coyotes sent them to the postseason for the fifth consecutive season. Brown was the only player at his locker stall when reporters were granted access to the dressing room. Alec Martinez was later summoned from the off-limits area and he spoke along the same lines as Brown, saying it was a bigger deal to play well.

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Kings captain Dustin Brown suffers a chest contusion against Panthers

Dustin Brown played only 7 minutes, 12 seconds in the Kings’ 4-0 rout of the Florida Panthers on Saturday at Staples Center. He didn’t play at all in the third period after suffering a chest contusion in the second. Brown’s status for the Kings’ trip to Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh was uncertain. The team departed for Philly immediately after the game and is scheduled to practice there Sunday. The Kings play the Flyers on Monday.

Brown, who sat out two games recently because of a lower-body injury, played only 4:05 in the first period against the Panthers. He scored a second-period goal and then headed to the dressing room after he was injured. He did not re-appear on the bench and the team said he suffered an upper-body injury and would not return.


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Brown, Quick skip Kings’ practice with illnesses and might not play vs. Ducks

Kings captain Dustin Brown and goaltender Jonathan Quick sat out of practice Friday and their status for Saturday’s game against the Ducks was uncertain. Brown played only a little more than 10 minutes during the Kings’ loss Thursday to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Quick played his customary standout game, stopping 26 shots in a 3-2 loss. Coach Darryl Sutter was unsure whether Brown or Quick could play against the Ducks. Martin Jones would start in Quick’s place if needed.

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Darryl Sutter benches Kings captain Dustin Brown in loss to Maple Leafs

It’s no secret Kings captain Dustin Brown has struggled this season, but coach Darryl Sutter took the rather dramatic step Thursday of benching the left wing during a 3-2 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Asked if Brown was injured, which might account for the fact that he played only 10 minutes, 12 seconds, Sutter said, “No, he got benched. The line was tired, so they din’t play that much.”

Brown was unavailable for immediate comment.

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A look inside the Kings drought emergency (part 2)

When you look at the individual numbers, the facts are worse. The Kings’ leading scorer, Anze Kopitar, ranks only 34th in the NHL with 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists). Their leading goal-scorer, Jeff Carter, also ranks only 34th in the league with 20 goals. Kopitar is 56th with 17 goals. The Kings have only six players on their roster with 10 goals or more and only Carter and Kopitar have 15 or more.

Further, some of their best players have been mired in prolonged slumps. Mike Richards’ skid has received perhaps the most attention, but he’s not alone and he’s not the driest player on the roster. Richards’ last goal was Jan. 18 against Detroit. He has only two goals since Nov. 25. Overall, he has seven goals and 36 points.

Dustin Brown, the Kings’ team captain, hasn’t scored since Jan. 13. He has one point on the road this season, a goal against the Ducks on Dec. 13. Overall, he has 10 goals and 16 points. Justin Williams’ last goal was Jan. 9 against Boston. He has 14 goals and 29 points.



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Sochi Olympics musings (U.S. vs. Canada)

It’s their game, sure. Canada invented hockey. We get that down here in the United States. It’s their game, their national past-time, their pride and joy. Their sons (and daughters, too) dream of playing for the glory that comes with an Olympic gold medal or a Stanley Cup championship. It’s a sport that defines and unites a nation.

It’s our game, too. Maybe not in the same exact way, but in similar ones.

You’ll see that when the U.S. and Canada play in the semifinals of the Sochi Olympics on Friday at 9 a.m. (PST). You’ll see it in the passion and the hard work and the precision each team displays. In many regards, it will be like watching brothers, and maybe that’s because there are so many NHL brothers fighting for a berth in Sunday’s gold-medal game against either Finland or Sweden.

Team USA’s Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick will be trying to deliver a payback to Canada’s Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty for a loss four years ago in Vancouver. The Ducks’ Cam Fowler of the U,S. will be trying to stop Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and keep them from a second consecutive gold medal. Team USA coach Dan Bylsma will be trying to find ways to neutralize Sidney Crosby of Canada, his best player when they’re both on the job with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And so on and so on.

This is the game they’ll all be chirping about next week, when they return to their respective NHL dressing rooms. It might take more than a few nights of dinner and drinks to bury the hatchets. It might take a few games before their NHL teams are all reunited and feeling so good again. It’s going to be that kind of game Friday.

Sure, this is a game Canada is supposed to win. It is their game. It’s not a game the U.S. can’t win, however. Hockey isn’t an American game the way baseball or football or basketball is. We don’t celebrate Saturday nights at the rink quite the way they do. But we have something of a shared history in the game of hockey, especially internationally and particularly in the way we play the game. Our capacity to defy the odds with our ability to achieve the unthinkable is a shared trait, and a noble one at that. We admire their will to win and they should admire ours, too.

Every Canadian of a certain age can tell you where he or she was when Paul Henderson clinched the 1972 Summit Series victory over the Soviet Union just as every American hockey fan can say where they were when Mike Eruzione scored the go-ahead goal against the Soviets in 1980 in the “Miracle on Ice.”

I remember both moments like they were yesterday, but especially the Americans’ improbable victory, I remember driving to varsity basketball practice when a man on the radio suddenly shouted, “The United States has beaten the Russians 4-3 at Lake Placid.” I pulled to the side of the street and began screaming and honking the horn. It was incredible. It was unbelievable. I was lost in my own little world until I looked across the street and saw a man, screaming and honking his own car horn. We noticed each other and screamed and honked in a shared celebration.

ABC’s Channel 7 wouldn’t air the tape-delayed game for a few more hours in Los Angeles, but the man in the other car and I already believed in miracles.

So, here’s hoping for that kind of Henderson/Eruzione drama Friday.

It’s something we can all appreciate, Canadians and Americans.

Because it’s a game for all of us.


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Sochi Olympics musings (Day 2)

The United States looked so good in the second period of its 7-1 rout of Slovakia on Thursday morning that i might have to change my opinion on the Americans’ medal chances. Could be playing for the gold Feb. 23. I mean, if the Kings’ Dustin Brown is scoring goals for the Americans, anything is possible. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was sharp when there was pressure, which wasn’t all that often.

Canada looked so jittery at times in the first period that you almost had to feel sorry for the gold-medal favorites. Drew Doughty’s dance through the Norway defense on his way to the third goal for the Canadians seemed to loosen things up. The Kings’ defenseman accepted a centering pass from the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf and went all Bobby Orr to give the Canadians a 3-1 lead.

Russia’s victory over the Kings’ Anze Kopitar and Slovenia was all too predictable. But despite the flashes of brilliance, there were signs of Russian vulnerability. It shouldn’t have been as tight a game as it was.

Finland has some amazing skills in addition to fine goaltending and maybe I should think about moving them into medal contention, too.

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