While the rest of the team took advantage of a recovery day on Tuesday, Dustin Brown was getting bag skated by Assistant Coach Davis Payne and Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan van Asten for an estimated 50 minutes.
“[It was] probably more of a mental thing than a physical thing,” Brown said. “No goalies and skating by yourself is always fun.”
After a lengthy practice at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday that included a heavy segment of battle and compete drills, Brown expressed optimism that he’d be able to play against the Washington Capitals on Thursday after missing games against the Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes with a lower-body injury.
“We’ll see how it goes in the next 24 hours. Based off today, I think I’m ready to go.”
Brown, who claimed that the knee wasn’t the part of the body that ailed him, participated in a full practice for the first time after taking the ice following the morning skate on Monday and Tuesday’s conditioning skate. He was color-coded as part of a line that also included Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan.
“[I’m] just making sure I’m ready to go,” he said. “Everything’s gotten better over the last few days progressively.”
Darryl Sutter didn’t tip his hand when asked whether he expects Dustin to play against Washington.
“I have no idea,” he said. “We thought he’d play on Thursday. So today’s [Wednesday].”
Darryl Sutter, on whether it was good to have Brown take part in battle drills:
We all had to do that today. We had a day off yesterday.
Sutter, on whether he often leads players through heavier practices after days off:
When you’re not playing as many games, there are some guys that need it. It’s not everybody, but there are some guys.
Dustin Brown, on taking part in battle drills today:
For me and what I’m kind of getting back from, that’s the type of practice I needed. Again, it’s one thing skating by yourself, but to get in the corners and kind of feel how you feel, for me it was great. You have to ask the other guys.
Brown, on the challenges of watching the team from upstairs:
I watched one game in a suite, and that gives you a whole new perspective on the game. [Reporter: Doesn’t it look easy from there?] It looks very easy. And then I watched another game on TV. You see different things from different viewpoints. I also have the experience of being on the bench and understanding, but you kind of can see tendencies. From a team aspect, if there were a way to watch yourself from a suite standpoint, and I don’t mean on film because you just see a lot more from overhead. When you watch it on film it doesn’t really give it justice either. [Reporter: As Darryl joked last year, now you know why we know so much when we come downstairs and ask all the questions after the games.] Yeah, I learned that pretty quick. My first year I was injured. Watching up top as a rookie, you’re thinking ‘Look how easy – a play here, a play there.’ I think I had two points that year, and the guys that weren’t making the plays were our best players, so it gives you a different appreciation for being on the ice, actually.
Brown, on what he saw from Marian Gaborik when watching upstairs:
Obviously everyone knows about his shot and his speed. For me, it’s more about on the offensive side of the puck, the little plays that he’s making, the little passes. And that’s something you never notice when you play against him, unless he’s like a divisional opponent, which he’s never been for us. So you’re starting to see what type of player he is. I think it’s those little plays he makes – reading off of Kopi and Stick. Those little plays. Kopi’s pretty hard on the puck and dominant with the puck, so it gives him maybe two, three seconds to kind of get going past the guy, and that’s what you want for guys like Stick and Kop.