A couple of seasons ago, that tag line accompanied highlight reels of our captain dishing out some of the hardest hits in hockey. I've heard more than one Kings fan lately muse where Dustin Brown has "gone" because he doesn't hit like he used to.
Last night Dustin Brown proved he hasn't gone anywhere. And he ISN'T going anywhere if he has anything to say about it.
Let the doubters talk, because when it counts Dustin Brown delivers. He was an offensive MACHINE last night with a natural hat trick and an assist. Four huge points. But he also brought something even more important than that. He brought focus. He brought leadership.
|Ever wondered what a leader looks like? THIS is it.|
He energized an entire team with his dedication, an entire team focused on righting the ship and getting back to the business of winning. Dustin Brown isn't flashy or vocal, but he is determined. And this is the point in the season where determination means everything
But what about Jeff Carter, the man the Kings also hope will play a significant role in turning this team around?
There were plenty of cheers as he took the ice, playing on a line with Mike Richards as expected. While he contributed no goals -- in fact, not even a point -- Carter is a very fast, fluid skater, good passer and was strong on the puck on all night. He was out with Richards and Doughty on the first PK and fit right in. He got a few looks on the power play. He made a beautiful cross ice pass to Richards in the second period that almost turned into goal number 5. For his first night on the ice with a new team without the benefit of a single practice, he looked surprisingly at home.
- All the talk in the crowd tonight was about the Johnson-Carter trade. Most people I overheard didn't seem to miss Johnson too much. Neither does the Kings organization, since they have already re-cut the game intro video and erased every trace of him.
- I love my usual seat buddies. I just wish they hadn't sold their seats to a couple of Blackhawks fans. Luckily they turned out to be REALLY cool. Not only complimentary of our players but in agreement a couple of the calls against us were bad.
- Jonathan Quick earned his HNL high 7th shut out for the season.
Amazing what an already stellar goaltender can do with some goal
- Plenty of writers have called out the guys wearing extra letters on their sweaters to lead by example. Dustin Brown did it with four points. Anze Kopitar got zero points, another bogus goaltender interference penalty and almost broke something in his face. I'm still waiting for Kopitar to rediscover his scoring mojo, but hopefully Brown showed him the blueprint tonight.
- Dustin Penner worked harder tonight that he has since he was doing lunges on the beach this summer. Guess he's not wild about the idea of the weather in Manchester.
Last but not least, it was super cool to see two of Dustin Brown's team mates give thanks to their captain online. Love is all around this locker room.
The Kings get their next chance to build on this positive momentum Monday night in Smashville. Bring on the Predators!
GO KINGS GO!