AUDIO: Listen to media interviews with Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown and head coach Darryl Sutter after the team’s practice on November 6, 2015.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — To say that Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown is struggling to score goals would be an understatement of epic proportions.
In 13 games this season, Brown has a big goose egg in the goals scored column of the stats sheet. In fact, if you go back to last season, Brown’s last goal came on April 2, 2015, in an 8-2 blowout win over the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, ending a 19-game goal scoring drought for the Kings captain.
“The last couple of games, maybe I’ve been gripping my stick too tight,” said Brown. “But prior to that, [I was] getting a lot of good chances, right around the net. I’ve just got to keep going at it.”
“Last few games, there’s been a couple less chances,” added Brown. “There were a couple of chances in St. Louis where I [didn’t] corral the puck properly. That happens.”
Brown has 48 shots on goal this season, leading the Kings. He also ranks third on the team in shots attempted with 52.
Those numbers indicate that there is a significant difference between Brown’s scoring slumps prior to this season compared to what’s happening now.
“I never expect to go 13 games without a goal,” he noted. “I think, ultimately, it’s how I feel on the ice. I went through stretches like this the past couple of years where I wasn’t a very good player. The difference was that I wasn’t getting any shots. There would be multiple games in a row where I wouldn’t have any shots on goal. That’s one of the biggest differences.”
“It’s more about getting in and around the net, and getting those prime scoring chances. Talking to [head coach] Darryl [Sutter] today, I’m getting there, but maybe rushing it a little bit, instead of taking, maybe, half a second longer to just lift it, or wait a goalie out.”
As reported earlier, Brown is getting shots and scoring chances, but the puck just isn’t going in the back of the net.
“I feel like I was getting good looks,” he said. “I’m just having a hard time finishing right now. The one thing that changes when you go from playing with [center Anze Kopitar] to playing with [center Nick] Shore is the type of defensemen you’re playing against. I’ll try to take advantage of that, personally.”
Indeed, Brown will move onto a line with Shore and Marian Gaborik, who is in the midst of his own goal-scoring drought, for Saturday’s matinee affair against the Florida Panthers.
“It’s nothing different, really,” Brown said about being moved to the third line. “We’ve just got to try to find ways to score goals. Right now, I’m struggling to score goals, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. We lost the game [against Columbus on November 5], and ultimately, the only [thing] that matters is wins. So, sometimes you mix it up, trying to find something. Sometimes, it’s just getting different looks.”
Sutter stressed that Brown must be a complete player if he expects to score more goals.
“He’s continuing to work hard,” Sutter noted. “We want him to play a more complete game. It’s not about scoring. We know he’s struggled to score goals the last couple of years, but there’s a lot more to it.”
“He’s got to play a complete game,” Sutter added. “He’s got to have an identity. I don’t want to talk about it because yesterday, when I talked about it, somebody said I was criticizing Dustin Brown. I’m not criticizing Dustin Brown. For us…[inaudible due to door slamming in background]…Dustin Brown has to be a good player. You’ve got to be a complete player.”
“You’ve got to be able to check, you’ve got to be able to be responsible defensively, you’ve got to be able to play in three zones, you’ve got to be good on the boards. If you’re not good in those areas, generally, you’re not going to get rewarded around the net, because you’re not going to be there enough.”
Brown acknowledged his coaches’ remarks.
“It’s funny how it works,” he said. “Sometimes, you get one and just then, [the floodgates open]. You just try to stay focused on other areas of the ice because there’s a tendency, when you’re not scoring, to get away from all the other details of the game that make you a good player in other areas, so it’s important to draw attention to my checking, wall play, that sort of thing, and keep digging around the net.”
“It’s staying with it,” he added. “It’s very difficult, sometimes, when you want to score, and you’re expected to score, but it’s not going in for you. But you try to keep the rest of your game where it needs to be, especially with the way we play—[checking] is a big part of our game.”
Sutter underscored importance of forwards being complete players.
“There’s only a handful of guys in the league who get away now without checking,” he observed. “I won’t say who they are, but they’re easy to pick out. They go in and out of the lineup, and one year, they score 40 goals, and the next year, they score two. They don’t play on good teams, and we don’t want any of our players to be like that.”
“It’s like when you’re talking about the players you’re talking about now [Brown and Tanner Pearson were the topic of discussion], if it’s only based on scoring, you’re still not on a good team.”
“They have to be able to play the whole game. That’s why there’s boards on the ice, blue lines and red lines—so the players learn to play in those areas.”
Raw Audio Interviews
(Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
Dustin Brown (4:09)
Darryl Sutter (5:09)
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