Brown on Losing the Captaincy; Not Your Typical Conference Call

Brown Kings NHL 2015Dustin Brown met with the media today via a conference call to share his thoughts on no longer being captain of the Los Angeles Kings… and to say he was extremely candid would be more than understatement.

Partial opening comment on no longer being the captain:

“There are a lot of emotions [that come with this]. At the end of the day, it’s out of my control because this was a management decision; it’s not like the players voted on it. Quite honestly, that would have been a lot harder if it was my teammates doing this.”

On if he foresaw anything like this happening and if he felt the team’s leadership structure needed to be revamped this offseason:

“ ‘ Did I ever see this coming?’ Not really. I think I’ve done really well in the position. We’ve struggled the last couple years, but I think that’s the byproduct of a lot of things. I don’t think this one change represents what needs to happen here for us to be successful. Like I said, management felt this was one of the things that needed to change. I can’t say I agree with it, honestly. In saying that, I think Kopi is going to be a great captain. I’ve been locker and stall mates with him since he arrived here. I have all the faith in the world in Kopi, as being ‘the guy’ now. From my perspective, I wasn’t happy with this decision. Again, I’m a player and these are decisions for management to make, and we’ll see where it goes.”

On his recent meeting with coach Darryl Sutter after the change in captaincy was made official:

“I think it was more to just clear the air between me and Darryl. I think we both want the same thing, and have probably looked at it in different ways. I think it was a meeting that needed to happen for us to move forward. It wasn’t really about – I guess part of it was about what my role is, but a lot of it was about just stuff that needed to be addressed. That’s what it was for and I think it probably helped both sides.”

On if this change takes off some of the pressure he puts on himself:

“That’s probably part of the idea. I think there’s a lot that going into being a captain. Again, like I said, I enjoyed the responsibility. Whether I have a ‘C’ on my chest or not, I’m always going to put pressure on myself to be better. I’m not OK with just being OK. If you are, then you’re out of the league pretty quickly. This is maybe them trying to get me to a place where I’m not worried about the young guys or all the other stuff you kind of have to worry about a little bit more when you’re the captain. Now I can just focus on my game a little bit more; that’s the idea. Like I said, it’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s a decision that was made by management. My job is to be a better hockey player.”

On his relationship with management now:

“That’s a tough question. I’m not going to say it’s rosy. At the end of the day, my responsibility and my job – and what I ultimately care about – is performing and playing well for my teammates. That wasn’t ever not the case. I don’t want to let my teammates down, first and foremost. Those are the guys you go to battle with and those are the guys that it affects the most. That’s kind of my focus and my perspective. I, obviously, don’t see eye-to-eye with this decision, but I respect it. I’m a player and their management and coaches; ultimately, they get the say in this. My job is to be a better hockey player for my teammates. And, as a result, help this team win. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a business and I understand all of that. I think it’s my job just to come in ready to go in September.”

On Dean Lombardi’s attempts to trade him:

“We had pretty candid conversations. From my perspective, I think they’ve tried to trade me and have been unable to come to a deal – whether that was last week, three months ago, five months ago, or a year ago, I couldn’t tell you. It’s one of those things where, that’s their job to figure out if they want me to be a part of this team or try to find a way to move me. My job is to play hockey; that’s my focus. It’s always been my focus. I’ve never really worried about whether I’m going to be a part of this team – I’ve always believed I was going to be part of this team. We had pretty frank discussions about my role and they were pretty up front with me, in some regards. It is what it is at this point. It’s my job to play hockey.”

On the outcome of his conversations with Sutter, what his role will be next season:

“The conversation allowed Darryl and I to get on the same page; [talk though] where I was coming from, where he was coming from. In regards to my role, that’s his call. Like I said, I’m a player and he’s a coach. I don’t control the type of role I’m in. It’s just my job to do whatever I’m assigned to the best of my ability. I think the meeting was more to air some things out and just move on. It was one of those things where we needed to reconnect. I probably needed to hear some things from him and he needed to hear some things from me. That’s what kind of happened.”

On how he would characterize his relationship with Sutter over the past few seasons compared to where it stands now:

“I think, ultimately, me meeting with Darryl, it probably should have happened a year ago. It happened now. I understand the decision and I respect the decision. I think part of my problem is how it was handled. It just put me in an awkward spot. Not taking the ‘C’ away; that’s their decision. We were in the middle of the process. I just didn’t think that was handled very well, considering it leaked. I’m pretty sure my wife and my friends don’t have phone numbers of people to leak it to, nor would they leak it. So, it was just disappointing how that unfolded from my perspective. We were kind of going through the process of figuring it out. It wasn’t like a 15-minute meeting and that was it. I probably talked with Dean for 20 minutes to two hours about five or six times. It was just the process and it leaked in the middle of the that process. Quite honestly, I felt they should have addressed it then, but they didn’t really do it. So it was a very awkward and very stressful two to three weeks. You guys were probably sitting there writing articles and kind of guessing because, for whatever reason, it leaked. When they did address it, it was to announce Kopi [as the new captain]. That’s part of the reason I didn’t want to make myself available that day. I remember the day I was named captain. It was under different circumstances, but I felt that day – the day they put the press release out – that was Kopi’s day. That’s a pretty big honor, a pretty big day for him, personally, and I wanted him to have the spotlight. I didn’t want to be answering these types of questions on a day when it should be about the new guy. That’s part of the problem I’ve had with this whole situation.”

To clarify, if it was up to him, he would be the captain next season:

“Yes. That’s one of the things… if I was OK with this decision in the first place, then it was probably the right decision. I felt like I’ve done a very good job leading this team. And I think we, as a group, have done a really good job over the last – people look at the last couple of years and that has been very disappointing for all involved and we all have a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be. But, I just remember, when I was named captain, where we were at as a team – it was not a pretty picture. What I’ve been able to accomplish, with the help of a lot of my teammates, has been pretty great. I felt like I’m still able to do that. I’m not 37 and on my way out; that’s the way I see it. I’m a good hockey player. I have to get back to playing good hockey. That’s my attitude now. It’s no longer my responsibility, the responsibility of the ‘C’ – but that’s not to say I don’t think I could still do it. Kopi will do a great job, though.”

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