Kings captain Dustin Brown won’t be in the line-up for tonight’s regular season finale at Staples Center. Instead, he’ll miss his second consecutive game, sitting on the sidelines after being suspended for elbowing Jason Pominville in the head last Tuesday.
Watching from afar is a new experience for Brown though. Prior to missing Wednesday’s game in Detroit, he had played in 314 consecutive games – just 16 shy of Anze Kopitar’s club record – dating back to February 27, 2009.
So, how many in-game tweets can we expect, offering coaching advice for his teammates, ala Kobe Bryant?
“Zero,” he said with a wry smile. “It’s easy to sit there and watch and say something. But, I learned my first year when I was injured, being in the press box you see the game differently. It looks pretty easy. However, when you get on the ice it’s a whole different story. You see the guys are trying and doing their best and making most of the right plays and you know what it’s like to be as a player - like your reacting. So, when you’re watching, your just kind of hoping for a good outcome.”
Overall, it’s not something he cares for too much, as he’d much rather be playing – especially at this time of year with so much at stake.
Since December 26, 2007, Brown had only missed four previous games – all due to the birth of his three children. Now, with a fourth baby on the way, he may be faced with a similar situation near the start of next season. He’ll worry about that then though.
For now, it’s all about trying to put the suspension behind him and moving on to a playoff mentality.
If he was to take some positives from the events of this week though, he’ll be well rested come round one and he once again felt supported by the team.
“It was a phone call with Shanny, a couple of other people from the NHL, me, a couple people from the PA (Player’s Association), Darryl and Dean,” Brown said, of who joined him on the disciplinary call. “I did most of the talking and then Darryl and Dean obviously put their two cents in.”
Although they didn’t get the outcome desired, Brown was appreciative of Kings’ management standing by his side.
“The thing with Dean is he’s always got my back,” said the 28-year old Stanley Cup champion. “”That’s nice to have when you go into a situation like that - just to know that you have his support and he’s behind you.”
Like always, Brown offered candor when we transitioned to talking about his possible contract extension.
“I’ve been a King my whole life, my whole career, and I hope to stay here,” he shared. “I still have another year left on my existing deal and I plan on at least playing that out. If we get to talking this summer, then we get to talking. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. It’s one of those things.”
Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick received big pay raises the past two summers. But, Lombardi’s work is really cut out for him this summer. He’s facing the salary cap going down by roughly $6 million next season, while still needing to get new deals done with Slava Voynov, Rob Scuderi and potentially Robyn Regehr.
An extension for Brown could also come as soon as July.
“If they’d like to extend me, I’d like to get it done before next season just to avoid the whole kind of (drama) that you saw in Anaheim (with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry),” said Brown. “It became a distraction not just for those players, but I think for the organization as a whole.”
To be clear though, Brown has other more pressing things on his mind at the moment.
“We’re one game away from being in the playoffs and maybe we can go to the Stanley Cup Finals, so there’s still time to get talking about that stuff after.”
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