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LA Kings: Dean Lombardi’s Plan For Dustin Brown Appears To Be Working

Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Last June, when the Los Angeles Kings announced that center Anze Kopitar would replace winger Dustin Brown as captain, Brown was not happy about the change, even though he said that he respected the decision and fully supported Kopitar.

At the time, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi said that one of the reasons for the change was to help Brown get his game back after struggling since the team won the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship.

“The other part that’s critical, and like I told him, when you have a responsibility for 23 guys, he perfectly recognizes that for us to be successful, as a team, he has to get his game back to where he’s capable,” said Lombardi. “[Even though] he hasn’t produced at the level he’s certainly capable [of], I don’t think it’s been his effort. In a lot of cases, it’s that he tries so hard and is so critical of himself. He puts enormous pressure on himself.”

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An Heir of Resiliency

The following is a story I originally wrote for the English section of the Rafu Shimpo, the Los Angeles Japanese Daily News (founded in 1903), on a freelance assignment. It was published in their print edition on November 30, 2016, and they have graciously allowed me to reprint the story here.


Los Angeles Kings right wing Devin Setoguchi
(click above to view larger image_
Photo: Juan Ocampo/Courtesy Los Angeles Kings via Getty Images

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When he was playing youth hockey in Canada, Devin Setoguchi’s favorite player was a fellow Japanese Canadian, superstar Paul Kariya, who played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now the Anaheim Ducks) from 1994-95 to 2002-03, before finishing his National Hockey League career with the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.

Today, Setoguchi, 29, is playing for the Los Angeles Kings, hoping to complete a comeback story that would add another chapter to a family legacy in Canada that began in Vancouver, British Columbia, and includes his paternal grandparents having to survive incarceration in a horse stable nearly 75 years ago.

Setoguchi grew up in Taber, Alberta, on a farm that was established by his paternal grandparents, who lived in Vancouver until World War II when they were forcibly removed from their home and community.

Indeed, Canadians of Japanese ancestry, along with their immigrant parents, were unjustly incarcerated during World War II—more than 22,000 people in all—in Canadian concentration camps, in similar fashion to the unjust incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents in American concentration camps and other confinement sites.

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Dustin Brown’s Improved Play Is About Much More Than Not Wearing The “C”

Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — No, he’s not setting the National Hockey League on fire, nor is he hot enough to melt the ice he’s been skating on. Nevertheless, much maligned forward Dustin Brown has not only been a far better player compared to the one he has been the last few seasons, but he has also been one of the Los Angeles Kings’ best players so far this season.

Through 20 games this season, Brown has scored three goals and has added six assists for nine points. That puts him on pace to score twelve goals and to contribute 25 assists for 37 points.

Last season, Brown ended the regular season with 11 goals and 17 assists, good for 28 points in 82 games.

Although that extrapolation seems to indicate that Brown isn’t showing a tremendous amount of improvement over last season, numbers don’t tell the whole story.

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What You Probably Don’t Know About Kevin Gravel’s Rise On LA Kings Depth Chart

PROSPECT WATCH: Frozen Royalty begins its off-season coverage of the Los Angeles Kings up-and-coming prospects with a look at the backstory that you probably haven’t heard about regarding defenseman Kevin Gravel’s development and ascent through the ranks of the Kings’ system. Features exclusive comments from Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti.


Ontario Reign defenseman Kevin Gravel
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — This past season, Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel played for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign, where he showed that he just might have what it takes to be a National Hockey League-caliber defenseman.

In 55 regular season games with the Reign, the 24-year-old, 6-4, 199-pound native of Kingsford, Michigan scored seven goals and added 13 assists for 20 points, with a +4 plus/minus rating and 30 penalty minutes in 55 games.

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Dustin Brown Deserved Much Better From LA Kings

LA Kings forward Dustin Brown, shown here during a November 2015 practice at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Although the decline in his level of play has been rather glaring, even before he helped lead the Los Angeles Kings to their first Stanley Cup Championship in 2012, right wing and now former captain Dustin Brown deserved better treatment than he has received this summer since news leaked that he was no longer captain.

On May 27, TSN’s Frank Seravalli first reported on Twitter that Brown would no longer be captain. But there was no confirmation from the Kings, not even a comment, until June 17, when they named center Anze Kopitar as their new captain.

Brown broke his silence on June 30, and during a very candid, often blunt, media conference call, among the things that became clear was that the Kings bungled the whole situation.

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