Although the Kings were given a much deserved day off today, their media staff made a few players available to us via conference call. Here are some quick notes from the conversation with team captain Dustin Brown…
- On having a few days off before the next series – “I think physically and mentally it’s pretty good, probably more on the mental side of things. When you get to this point in the year, physically you can find a way to get yourself going. But, mentally, you’re in a high-stress, high-pressure situation, day in and day out. So, just to have a day to not really think about hockey or the nerves and type of pressure that comes with being in the playoffs – it’s nice to get away from the game for a day or two and kind of let your mind reset.”
- He’ll have the Phoenix-Nashville game on tonight, but he’s not sure if he’ll sit down and watch the whole game.
- Wrist shot vs. slap shot in the playoffs – “Wrist shots are ultimately a lot quicker and a lot more accurate. The quicker you get your shot off, I find, the less time the goalie has to make the save. With a slap shot, you give him an extra second – just by winding up, it gives him an extra second. I don’t take all that many slap shots, partly because I don’t really have a good one. But, I find the more quickly you shoot the pucks, the more likely you are to have a chance at scoring. So, probably the wrist shot or snap shot, is definitely the quicker of the shots you can select from.”
- Does the back checking in the league/playoffs create pressure that prevents a big wind up? “Yeah, definitely. Not only the back checking and the pressure on you, but the pressure in front of you. Blocking shots has really become a big part of the game and it’s not just one or two guys doing it. You’ll have three or four guys trying to block your shot in zone. It’s just a challenge to get it on net sometimes. It’s not really necessarily how hard you shoot it, but how quick and where you shoot it.”
- Thoughts about playing Nashville or Phoenix – “I think it’s pretty obvious that Phoenix would be a better team from a travel standpoint – being an hour flight there and back. That’s the only obvious advantage to Phoenix. At the end of the day, whether we play Phoenix or Nashville, whatever team we end up playing, they’re there for a reason. I think match-ups go out the window at this time of year. It’s more about who’s willing to do more.”
- Top players playing well in the playoffs – “We’re all clicking right now. A lot of it has to do with, we’re getting big games from different people each and every night. It’s not just our top guys that are playing well and getting us big goals. We’re getting depth scoring, which is huge at this time of year. Going along with that, no one is really having off nights, in the sense that we don’t have guys making mistakes. There’s guys who aren’t maybe finishing their chances every night, but every one is doing all the little things right and that goes a long way toward being successful. Just thinking about game three vs. Vancouver, we won that game 1-0 and that was because we had one opportunity to score a goal and we did. Every other opportunity, every other little play, was made from top to bottom – which allowed us to win a game 1-0. That’s what playoff hockey is all about, having everybody buy in and having big players step up.”
- On physical conditioning – “A lot of the feeling good (physically) at this time of the year is (based on) what you do in the summer in getting yourself ready to play an 82-game season and beyond. The other side of it is taking care of yourself off the ice on a day-to-day basis. I think that’s something everyone is pretty good at at this level, getting the proper rest and eating right and doing all the little things that make you feel better at this time of year. The other thing is managing the practice times and all that. We have a day off today and that goes a long way in helping guys recover from a physical standpoint.”
On his kids – “They’re pretty excited. My middle son has worn his LA Kings jersey for two weeks now. He doesn’t want to take it off, he wore it school today for like the 15th day in a row. They’re definitely excited. I don’t think they completely understand everything. But, they still like coming to hockey games.”
On what it means to be a leader – “With the Kings, it’s one of those things where I was named captain and I probably didn’t really know what it meant to be a leader when I was named. It’s been a learning process for me. With this team in particular, it’s just setting an example on the ice, in the way that I play. I think if I do all the little things right and play the right way, it makes it really easy for everyone else to kind of fall in line. And being in LA, with the type of team we have, it’s not just me – it’s not just me and Kopi and Greener either. We have 10 or 13 guys in the room who are leaders. So, when it comes to the whole leadership responsibility, it’s not the burden of just one or two guys, which makes it a very comfortable place where you can lean on each other in times of need. That goes along way in having strong leadership.”
Did you ever talk things over with Rob Blake (about wearing the ‘C’) – “I talked with Blakey a few times, more so right when I was named captain. I just didn’t understand necessarily all the responsibiltiies of it. There’s on-ice responsibilities, I think everyone’s aware of those. There’s also a lot of off-ice stuff that you just don’t think about until you’re in that situation and you have to deal with it. Blakey was one of those guys, he had been around for a while. He had it figured out pretty well when he captained our team right before me. We didn’t have the greatest team, but he always had the team’s best interest at heart. There were some instances where he kind of stepped up to the plate and really answered the bell for the team.”
On maintaining focus when you’re only half way to the ultimate goal – “With this time off, it’s nice to get mentally and physically recovered. But, like I said, and this kind of touches on the group of guys that we have in the room – we have a lot of guys who have been through this before and have the experience. So, it’s just a matter of bringing awareness to it. This team, this group of guys has been really focused, not getting ahead of ourselves. In both series we had a 3-0 lead and found a way to close it out. When you get up 3-0, you could have a tendency to look ahead. We’ve been really focused – not only on game to game, but shift to shift. We need more of that over the next week here – just focusing in and not looking ahead. It will be a little easier once we know who we’ll be playing. Then, we can start getting ready, from a video standpoint and their tendencies. Then, you can start to really key in on what you need to do to be successful once we start playing again.”
Up next, comments from Dustin Penner.
In the meantime, if you haven’t voted in the 3-stars and MVP of the series poll, please do so here.