Dustin Brown's slump isn't entirely pointless
First, it’s remarkable that the Kings, who were riding a 7-0-2 surge, have been successful without recent contributions from their captain, who scored 24 goals each of the last two seasons and 33 goals in 2007-08. He has 18 goals and 39 points in 56 games, on pace to finish near the 24 goals and 56 points he recorded last season.
If they’re able to win without contributions from him, imagine what they might do if he rediscovers his scoring touch — and the Kings will need him to revive in order to continue piling up points and crack the top eight in the West.
Then there’s his attitude: Personal statistics don’t matter to him as long as the team is winning. To Brown it’s more important that Anze Kopitar is productive than for him to be filling the net himself.
“Every season there’s ups and downs. The month of December, I was on fire,” said Brown, who had seven goals and 19 points in 14 games in that month. “I think it’s different when Kopi’s in a goal-scoring slump. He’s relied upon heavily for offense. Not to say that I’m not, but I can find other ways to have impact on games, whether it’s being physical or just creating traffic.
"When you’re going through a slide or a tough slump, you try to get back to basics and do the things you do really well."
He played alongside Kopitar most of the season either on his natural right side or on the left, but Brown was recently switched to a new line alongside rookies Kyle Clifford and Andrei Loktionov.
"That’s a different role and an opportunity for me to help those young guys, especially at a key part of the season," said Brown, the old man of the line at 26. "They may not realize how big these games are just yet. We’re starting to get chances as a line after a couple games. For me personally I’ve just got to keep on trying to do all the little things right."
Coach Terry Murray acknowledged that moving Brown from one line to another "is never an easy task, either, for a player," but said he’s hopeful Brown will awaken soon.
"It’ll come for Brownie," Murray said. "I think his intensity and his emotional connection to every game is going to allow him to create some opportunities whether individually or through the line attacking together. So it is a frustrating time right now for him."
But not as bad as it would be if the team were less successful.
"We’re winning, so at the end of the day I could go pointless the rest of the year if we’re winning like this," Brown said. "It’s frustrating personally, but as a team when we’re winning I can put all that other stuff aside."
Check back later for details from the Kings' game against the Blue Jackets.
-- Helene Elliott, in Columbus, Ohio
Photo: Dustin Brown. Credit: Chuck Myers / MCT.