It’s over. After 18 seasons, numerous team records, and two Stanley Cups as the LA Kings captain, Dustin Brown has officially entered retirement.
Earlier this week, he met with the media at Toyota Sports Performance Center to share some final thoughts…
On what was going through his mind during the handshake line after Game 7 in Edmonton
Bittersweet, the whole thing is bittersweet, to be honest with you. The whole last few weeks. It’s just bittersweet, I guess. But I know it’s the right decision for me, where I’m at and what I want to do.
On how different it was coming home on Sunday, knowing that’s the last time he’s coming from playing in an NHL game
That’s the exciting part about it. It’s more leaving the rink that’s hard. Once I get out of the rink, life is life, people move on. But there were some moments after the game – obviously, the plane ride felt a little long. But at that point, you’re tired, you’re having fun. What I’m moving into is more exciting than – the bitter part is leaving. The sweet part is going forward.
On what’s next and if he’ll just be a house husband or if he has other plans
I have a plane ride to Pittsburgh for a hockey tournament on Wednesday [with my daughter]. Probably a lot of that over the next couple months, and then summer. Then, we’re back here; live life and see what it’s like. … I don’t want to do anything like [scout or coach], right away. I want to get away from the game a little bit, spend time with my family and just being a dad. I’m sure I’ll still be around; it’s hard not to be around the rink when you have four kids who play hockey. But I’ll kind of just let it unfold how it unfolds. There’s not like some road map, ‘I want to do this and then I want to be here.’ I’m literally just – today is the first time I’ve actually had the opportunity to think about these things. I’ll just take my time with it, really.
On the series vs. Edmonton and what he saw that gives him hope about the LA Kings moving forward
It’s probably not anything on the actual hockey – like on the ice – it’s more the mentality of the team. I think that’s what’s special about teams; at least the teams I’ve been a part of. We had good teams, from a hockey standpoint, but we had elite teams from a mental standpoint. How we approached the game and how we showed a lot of positive attributes, as a group, that lend itself to getting the pieces in place. If you have that mentality, that’s what I still think is the hardest thing to get for teams. Why do some teams figure out ways to win and others teams don’t? It’s just their mentality. Their group mentality is important, also individual mentality kind of permeates to the group. I think we showed a lot of – we got our asses kicked in back-to-back games. A lot of people were doubting. We just came with a business like attitude and pushed it to seven games. Fell short. but I remember my first playoff experiences, just learning how to do it. And there were a lot of guys in there that had no experience. The first game, I think we had the least amount of games, experience wise, among all the teams in the whole playoffs. So, to play in and get a seven-game series in for those guys is good. Also, just realizing how hard it is, just to win one game.
On the moments with Duncan Keith and Mike Smith in the handshake line after Game 7
With both of them, it was really just the same thing. I’ve played a lot of hockey against both those guys. Not only just a lot of hockey, but a lot of important hockey is the key part of that. There’s lots of players that I played lots of hockey against, but not in high stress moments. Playoffs are just a different animal. It’s probably true for every sport, every good rivalry – you need somebody there. Cakewalks you don’t remember. It’s getting your asses kicked and then coming back; how you’re responding both ways. Both those guys, I’ve battled a lot against. We were just saying our goodbyes.
On if there were any younger players he pulled aside near the end of the series to give some last few words of advice to
I talked to a lot of the young guys throughout the whole year. Grundy was sitting next to me in the room. I’ve always had a soft spot for Grundy, just because he’s Tonka Truck. He played really well. I was happy for him. He got put into a spot and he performed how I knew he would. I think it showed a lot of people that he’s ready to take that next step. But there’s a lot of young guys, guys on the back end that just stepped into a [role that allowed us] to get into the playoffs. They played well. I’m just appreciative of all those young guys because a couple years ago our team wasn’t a lot of fun. This year was a lot of fun.
Brown had a lot more to say as the conversation continued…
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