An earlier post touched on Jarret Stoll’s move from center to right wing. The other big change for the Kings will come with Dustin Brown’s move from right wing to left wing. It’s something Brown has done in the past for handfuls of games at a time. Coincidentally, Brown’s most notable stint as a left winger arguably came during the 2010 Olympics, when he won a silver medal for the United States. Now, Brown also goes back to a line with center Anze Kopitar — they were regular linemates a couple years back — and they pick up winger Trent Hunter, who has been in and out of the lineup this season. How will the move to the left side impact Brown? After practice, he talked about the difference, his preference and the line-combination changes in general…
BROWN: “It’s a double-edged sword. It’s much more difficult making plays coming out of your own end. But making plays, just crossing the blue line on the offensive side, you can cut, you can do the slant pass onto the guy’s stick, and it’s a lot easier to drive wide. Last night, I had a couple chances where I got a step on a guy — they made good plays and I didn’t get to the net — but on the right side it’s much more difficult to get around the guy wide. When I’m on my backhand, I can protect the puck a lot better. There’s a lot more options on the offensive side of the puck. I just have to take more reps in practice.
“If you look, even this year, my best chances are when I get the puck coming off my left side. Like I said, it’s more difficult making plays out of my zone, but that’s just a matter of getting reps and working on it. It’s just like anything else. Pulling pucks off the walls as a right winger, I’m used to it because I’ve been doing it for an extended period of time. It’s just a matter of adjusting.’’
Question: Were you surprised to see the big changes this morning?
BROWN: “We’ve been pretty consistent with our lines. This is the first real big jumble that we’ve had. I mean, we haven’t scored a lot of goals, we haven’t produced a lot of chances for, so sometimes if you jumble the lines it will spark some new chemistry with some players. That’s for the coaches to decide, and players play. We’ve all played with each other, for the most part, so it’s just a matter of finding ways to get more opportunities offensively.’’