After missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury, Dustin Brown appeared in the preseason finale before he hit the ground running with a road back-to-back set on Thursday and Friday. He took four shots but was held without a point over 34 minutes and 41 seconds of total ice time against Minnesota and Winnipeg.
In addition to evaluating his own play over the first two games of the season, Brown also showed reporters the knee brace that he has been wearing as a result of the torn PCL that he played through during last season’s playoff run.
“If it was up to me, it would be gone tomorrow,” Brown said of the bulky equipment addition.
“They want me to wear it, so I’ve got to just get used to it. I don’t like it, but it is what it is…It’s just protecting myself, I guess.”
Darryl Sutter, on Dustin Brown’s performance in the first two games:
You know what, the first game was sort of a ‘we’ll give it to him,’ because you’re trying to watch how you use him, and then your concern in the second game is back-to-backs. So we didn’t use him killing penalties much in either game, other than if one of the guys we’d normally use was in the box, or depending how Willie was. How was he? Our left wingers didn’t have a very good weekend, or whatever you want to call it. So that’s not just Brownie.
Dustin Brown, on his progress despite the gap in training camp:
I’m getting there. It really comes with playing games. I felt a lot better in Winnipeg than I did in Minnesota, and every game I’m sure I’ll feel better getting a couple days rest now. New York this week, and then Ottawa, I’m sure I’ll be right where I need to be. It’s just getting into games. The practices are one thing, but it’s the timing in the games, and my timing was a lot better in Winnipeg.
Brown, on whether it was good to have a back-to-back to start the season:
For me, I was happy we had a back-to-back. Part of the reason was just to shock your body. I mean, we’re going to have 12 more of those, or whatever. You go through a process in the beginning of camp – and normally it starts in training camp – [where] you get your body used to the wear and tear and the travel, and after about two, three weeks you stop feeling your body altogether, generally. So I’m getting to that point now where I wake up the next day, and I feel pretty good.
Brown, on what he took from the first two games of the season:
Minnesota was more just believing we were going to win when we’re not playing well. We didn’t play a very good game. I think that’s one of the bigger differences in this group of guys dating back to two years ago. I guess you could apply it to the Winnipeg game, too. We were down 4-1, and not anybody on the bench thought we were going to lose the game. That goes a long way, and finding a way to come back against Minnesota and getting two points was huge. We had our opportunities in Winnipeg down 4-1 with 12 minutes, 13 minutes left. We had opportunities to tie that game. I think that’s the one thing we’ve got to take away is one, the two points. Secondly, the attitude that we’re not out of the game regardless of the score.
Brown, on the team’s tendencies:
We haven’t given up five goals too often. I think that was uncharacteristic of our team, but again, I think that’s how we play, is limiting the scoring chances against. Normally we score four goals or three goals, we’re going to win a game, especially with Quickie on net. We’ve got to stick with just keep getting better at the details, really.