2013-14 Preview: Captain Clutch Returns as Dustin Brown Continues His Refusal to Leave Anything on the Table
When discussing the players that mean most to the Los Angeles Kings and their fans, everyone would remiss if they didn’t mention Dustin Brown’s name. Despite past rumours of being traded, The Captain has meant everything to the Kings community. Late in the 2011-12 season, there was serious talk brewing regarding the 28-year-old being shipped out of town. But on the same night as the annual trade deadline, Brown potted a hat-trick and then rolled his momentum into the playoffs where he dominated both offensively and physically before becoming only the second American-born captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup victory. Heck, even in the Finals he slowed down only to score the first two goals in the Cup-clinching Game 6. What more can be said?
In 46 games last season, Dustin Brown was second in goals scored on the Kings with 18 while adding 11 helpers along the way. Unfortunately, Brown was playing hurt in the playoffs and while he toughed it out, he was only able to muster four points in 18 games without being much of his usual physical presence at all – a stark contrast to the eight goals and twelve assists he put up the previous spring en route to the Cup.
In 2013, Brown was tied with Justin Williams in total shots with 142 while trailing only Anze Kopitar among average ice time for Kings forwards with 19:30.
Physically, Brown didn’t leave anything on the table during the lockout-shortened season as he led his team (like he usually does) with 156 hits.
As intimidating as Dustin Brown was on full strength last season, he was especially so while his team was on the power play as of his 18 regular season goals, eight of them came on the man-advantage.
One of the diamonds in the rough drafted by then-GM Dave Taylor (13th overall in 2003 to be exact), Dustin Brown has consistently shown his value in Los Angeles and that is not limited to what he’s done on the ice.
Having been such an integral part of the Kings community off the ice for the many year he’s been in Los Angeles, Dustin Brown is hands-down a fan favourite in Boomtown as his No. 23 jersey is arguably the most seen at Staples Center during Kings games. Even when the Kings are on the road, Dustin Brown jerseys are the easiest to spot whether it’s in Anaheim, Chicago or Toronto.
During his time in Los Angeles, Dustin Brown has gone through many slumps but what makes him the great player he is is his ability to step up in the clutch moments and come through when his team and his fans need him most.
While fans may be frustrated with him at times this season (including yours truly), everyone can agree that Captain Clutch will be there when it matters most – and for all you American supporters, that may even including an Olympic gold medal in Sochi.