More needed from Kopitar, Brown

Darryl Sutter hinted, in recent days, that he would break up the Kings’ top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, and he did it today, with Brown moving to the second-line right-wing spot — he had been playing left wing in recent weeks — and rookie Jordan Nolan moving up to the first line and going back to his natural position of left wing. The Kings, it seems clear, aren’t going anywhere unless Kopitar and Brown get going. Kopitar has two goals in his last 10 games and Brown has gone 11 consecutive games without a goal. After practice today, Sutter was asked about the new-look lines, in the context of trying something different in order to get the offense going…

SUTTER: “Different? Yeah, Kopitar and Brown to get going. Neither one has done much for six weeks. These guys talk too much about the team. They should talk more about more about themselves, what they bring to the table. … Kopi and Brownie have been stale, from my standpoint, for a little while together. In terms of producing opportunities, if it’s working backwards, in terms of who you perceive as your fourth line, to your first, then it’s not really a team thing.’’

Sutter was then asked about what has been lacking in Kopitar’s game, and he spoke at length about both Kopitar and Brown…

SUTTER: “He has to bring more energy and more purpose when he has the puck. It’s not that he’s playing poorly. If you didn’t look at him as a high-end offensive player, he’s playing well enough in the three zones, but when he’s got the puck in the offensive zone, he’s got to be a lot more determined, purposed player when he has it in the offensive zone. He does a really good job of getting there with it and helping everybody else get there, but he’s got to do a better job once he has it there, because he’s capable. … Up until we went on that (road) trip, there were times when he was close to dominating in those areas. Then we went on the trip, and it started to slip in his game.

“Brownie is a straight-line, up-and-down, go-to-the net, shoot-the-puck, run-over-people player. Just break it down. If he’s doing those four or five things, he’s effective. If he’s not doing all those things, he’s not effective. That’s what ties into Brownie’s scoring, is those areas. It’s simple. He’s not unlike any other power player. When they stop doing those things, then those chances go down and their scoring goes down. That’s where he is right now. We moved him to left wing, probably 12 games ago, and he has scored one goal there, and that was the game against Calgary. That was the only time. So I’ll take as much responsibility in that as he should. He thinks he’s a better left winger, but I would say that he has done the majority of his teamwork, or good work, on the right side.’’

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