Yesterday, I was invited to spend the day downtown at a Kings staff meeting, in which heads of different departments (from hockey operations to group sales, and everything in between) spoke about the present and future of their respective areas. It was a highly interesting day, and I’ll have a significant report on that soon. As part of it, I was able to catch up with Dustin Brown for a few minutes, after he spoke to the group about his charity work. As a side note, if you’re not yet following Brown on Twitter (DustinBrown23), he’s a machine and is already cranking out some good insights. Here’s what Brown had to say yesterday, on a variety of topics…
Question: Did you get back on the ice this week?
BROWN: “I started last week, but then I took the second half of the week off. Then we’re on this week again, four days a week.”
Question: Who all is out there?
BROWN: “The majority are Kings prospects, and then me, Stolly [Jarret Stoll], Harry [Peter Harrold] and then there are guys who are local to the area, like (Mike) Comrie, (Sheldon) Souray, (Richard) Park, a bunch of them. Mostly NHLers. Fro [Alexander Frolov] was out there.”
Question: Last year, you spent a lot of time organizing the summer workouts with teammates. How did that go this summer?
BROWN: “We did it again this year. Same kind of idea. It was a little less organized. Two years ago, me and Greener [Matt Greene] planned it from the very beginning. It was pretty much the same outcome, it was just a little more chaotic, getting guys in and out. Pretty much everyone came except for a couple of the married guys, which is understandable, and then the Euros didn’t come and Jack [Johnson] was at school.”
Question: You’ve got roughly one month until the start of training camp. Can you talk about how you start preparing, start getting your body ready for the start of camp?
BROWN: “We’ve been working out really hard for probably the last two months, for me at least. A month and a half, two months, we’ve been working out hard. Now it’s about trying to taper off. In the weight room, i’m still doing the weights and some of the other stuff, but we used to do field work and work out pretty intensely. Now, for me, I’m doing some weights, some extra stuff in the weight room, and obviously we’re adding skating, but instead of going to the field every day, like we were, I’m doing some hockey-skill stuff. Shooting heavy pucks, stick-handling, just getting on the ice. What we’re doing now, with the skates, it’s not high-intensity. It’s just a matter of getting a feel for the ice again.”
Question: You’ve talked about not getting too caught up in what’s happening with free agency, but is there a human-nature element to that? Isn’t it natural to be disappointed if players don’t end up coming here, or do guys really not pay attention to it?
BROWN: “I mean, you hear about it. You’re around, and people know. Free agency is what it is. You can’t sit there, as a player, and not wonder what your team is going to do. But it doesn’t really make a difference until someone is signed or not signed. Like the Kovalchuk thing. It seemed like it went on forever. At one point, I picked him up and met him and did all that. At that point, i thought, `OK, where are we at with it?’ Then all that stuff happened, and now I’m just over it, the whole free-agency thing. It’s such an unknown for a player on the team. You sit there and wonder, and that’s really pretty much all you can do.”
Question: There might still be roster additions in the last month, but looking at how things are now, the roster has not been upgraded this summer, in terms of players coming in from outside. When Terry talks about improving 5-on-5 scoring, especially, does that put a lot more pressure on you guys?
BROWN: “I think it allows us to take more responsibility for the team. It really comes down to the core of the team. Whether we don’t do anything in free agency or we go out and get four guys in free agency, if our four or five or six core players don’t get better, ultimately we’re not going to be any better as a team. You look at the really good teams. You look at Detroit. Datsyuk and Zetterberg started as third-, fourth-line guys. They gradually got better and better every year, now that they’re core players. I started out on the third-, fourth-line here. Kopi obviously did not start on the fourth line, but each year I think we’ve all gotten better, especially over the last three, four years. You can add Dewey [Drew Doughty] and all those guys. If those key guys are getting better, regardless of what you do in free agency, you’re going to be a better team. Because those are the guys who take most of the responsibility on their shoulders, when it comes to being a better team.”