On the whole, the Kings have picked up their game as of late, winning four of their last six. Despite their modest success, Captain Dustin Brown appears to have lost his way. He has not been able to shake off the bad start he’s had to the season.
Brown just has not been the same player that Kings fans have seen over the years, and he has not been doing the things that he was given the captaincy for.
Through 22 games, the 27-year-old has potted four goals and 14 points. Those are not awful numbers, especially if you look at the fact that he’s still on pace for 51 points. But he’s also only on pace for 14 goals, way below his usual production. He scored 28 last season, and Kings fans have come to expect at least 25-30 from him each year.
Things would not be so bad if it was only his offensive game that has suffered this year, but he has stopped doing the little things right. He looks uninspired on the ice at times, he’s not finishing his checks and he’s not playing with that aggressiveness we used to see from him.
Brown tends to go down easy these days. The Captain is supposed to lead by example, so he should not be diving out there. He’s not going to earn respect from anyone as a Captain if he keeps that up.
Few would argue Brown is a streaky player. A lot of the time, though, he’s just not giving it 100 percent on the ice. If he plays the way he did at the end of the 2010-2011 season, there would not be a problem. He played hard, he scored goals and he led the team in Kopitar’s absence.
It may be early to say he should be stripped of the captaincy, but if he’s not playing the way he was when he was named Captain, then he should not be the captain. If it is the "C" on his shoulder that’s weighing him down, then by all means, remove it so he can relax and get back to being a hard-hitting, aggressive player that chips in offensively on a regular basis.
If the Kings choose that route, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards or even Matt Greene would be considered to fill the role. It would mostly likely go to Kopitar in that case. He is the best forward on the team, he plays hard every night and he leads the offense for the Kings.
If the Kings can get him back on his game, it would be a huge boost to the team. What he brings is hard to find and is especially useful in the playoffs when players like him have a chance to shine. They just need Dustin Brown to play like Dustin Brown again.