Will Captain Brown’s Big Hits Keep On Coming?

Some players have a calling card, a trademark or a brand, if you will, that defines their game. From the first day Dustin Brown came into the league, his was bone crushing hits. He looked for them, sometimes went out of his way to deliver them and, when he connected, he knocked the holy puck out of the recipient. Enjoy this video for a moment. We’ll pick up the discussion immediately thereafter.

Here is what I am asking – with Brendan Shanahan playing Wyatt Earp, what’s a hard-hitting cowboy like Dustin supposed to do and, conscious of the new rules and their enforcement, will our captain start backing off on the big hits?

Notice the emphasis. We are not writing about Dustin Brown ceasing to hit. That won’t happen. He will likely still be at or near the top of the league in hits (in general). We are addressing the body flailing, momentum changing, fight inducing, and/or getting you out of your seat type of physical contact – his trademark.

I looked carefully at the hits on that video. Dustin Brown hits hard. He keeps the elbows down. None of those are dirty by any reasonable standard. However, about 5 of those hits on that video may get Brownie a suspension this season and, once you get one, you have a rap sheet which makes the likelihood of longer suspensions on subsequent hits more likely.

Right now, everyone is on notice that Sheriff Shanahan means business and he is making wallets lighter and rosters thinner. He will likely keep doing that until the message sinks in, as is evident on the ice. That’s all fine and great and, some may argue, long overdue but what will that change mean for our captain and an integral part of his game? When you are done answering that question, supplement it with the same one for Mike Richards.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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19 replies

  1. I know it doesn’t have anything to do with your point, but man I really hated that video.

  2. He used to stick his elbows out or up (towards the head) and the natural follow through on that makes it look worse. I could see him getting a suspension for a lot of those nowadays, especially with Shanny here. I already don’t agree with a couple suspensions (Smith on Smith) although the non-suspensions are a good sign too. Players shouldn’t be suspended because the other guy was bent over and ducked the check at the last minute.

    I like the way he plays the game. I’d have a team full of him over a team full, well, some other player.

  3. I think Brown’s game will change slightly, but not enough to be very noticeable…Brown is aware of the changes in the league and he is a smart hockey player that will push the edge without KNOWINGLY stepping over. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a little nervous about him getting a suspension. As Scribe said, a few of the hits in that video would probably get him a suspension in today’s NHL. But the majority of those hits were made in a time where the league wasn’t looking to make examples out of numerous players for hits like that. I think Brown knows what type of hit will get him suspended and he will shy away from those types of hits, but at the same time, his game will still be the firey, little ball of hate, game that we all love.

    I say he’ll still be in the Top 5 in hits this season, along with his 30 goals. Love it.

  4. I don’t think he’ll change at all….I hope not, anyway.. The thing about Brown, and it’s recognized by the entire league -players and refs alike- is 96.798% of his hits are clean. I find it rather incredible that Brown resides in the top 3 in hits every year, yet you have to look diligently to find a hit that is beyond the rules. And when he does check someone with a borderline hit, his clean reputation usually earns him the benefit of the doubt. As long as there’s no head shots, everything is good.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like Brown has toned this down all on his own over the last two seasons. Its not gone from his game and he stills hits often and hard, but in terms of the giant earth shattering collisions you are talking about, I feel like they have been on the decline over the past two years. So I guess in my mind, there isn’t much left to take away from his hitting game in order to please Herr Shanahan.

    • I feel I’ve noticed the same thing. I think that’s more a part of Brown becoming a more mature and responsible hockey player.

      I also theorize that TM has had something to do with this in terms of telling Brown to settle down. His earth-shattering hits in the past could take him out of position. Check out some of those in the montage where he fell down on the ice for God’s sake and took himself out of the play for a few moments.

      • Yes, I agree, the nuclear hits are down, but it’s still a big part of his game. Totally agree on Brown maturing as a hockey player and trying to be a more rounded player with less missed assignments because off the big hits.

        Also, the fact is when you get older and more mature you realize it’s more of a marathon than a sprint and you choose your spots more wisely. And quite frankly the hits hurt a little more as time moves on. He will slowly regress in number of hits but his impact will still be felt.

        Matter of fact, don’t be surprised if his hits number goes down this year because of who he’s playing with. He might focus more on blending in with the skill level he’s surrounded with now instead of just looking to run through people and creating havoc. He will still be a power forward but I feel a more complex game coming…in a good way, not forced.

        • I agree that the line he’s likely to be on will be more of a contributing factor than Sheriff Shanahan. He’ll always bring the goods I just think his role will ask more for more soft hands than Muay Thai elbows this season. Either way, I love this guy.

        • Good post. I hadn’t even considered the angle that his hits could decrease as his game starts to tilt more towards the skill side with his line mates.

          Personally, I’d like to him show more puck protection, dare I say a la Frolov. I think he’s easily got the strength to do it and could transfer his tendency to hit into a tendency to hold onto the puck. I could just see him muscling up into the offensive zone and dishing passes off to Richards to either score or set up goals all season long.

  6. Poor Brownie is gonna be skating on eggshells with these new rules. Remember that five-minute major that got him bounced from the game, yet once the league reviewed the tapes it refused to consider further punishment?

    At least now the basic penalty is a two-minute minor.

    But you can expect the refs will call it tight. After all, Sid the Kid is still on injured reserve and — let’s face it — there really have been too many concussions in the game.

    • Somehow this is all Anson Carter’s fault. I don’t know how or why, I just know that it is.

      • You may be right.

        I’ve never forgiven the prick for being the first to score a season goal at Staples.

        • He was? When he was with the Bruins? Jeez, I just meant his piss poor time as a King in the most epic fall from grace the Kings have ever experienced. That was the year we were in the playoffs, lost like 12 games in a row to end the season and missed the playoffs, right?

          Now I have even more irrational disdain for him.

          • Ah! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

            Did you have to mention that end-of-season choke?!? Jee-zuss fucking Christ, that was grim. And Luc started it off by guaranteeing the fans we’d make the play-offs.

            That’s the sort of shit you bring up when Red Sox fans mutter to themselves over Bill Buckner — (which the motherfuckers DESERVED after what happened to poor Donnie Moore).

            Please. Bury the fucking memory, will you? Burn it out of your consciousness. Break into the Kings offices and shred all the stat shit from that season.

            Let me not think on’t.

  7. I may be way off base here, not the first time– not the last time, but just going off the video and my shotty memory, the more reckless suspension worthy hits in that video were a younger pre-captain Brown. Could being a team leader on the ice have made him into a more responsible hitter, who knows the line between tempo changing defense and stuff that could hurt the team?

  8. I don’t think he’s gonna change too much. At least what I read about Shannahan’s perception of suspensions. From what I understand he’s really looking for the guys that are genuinely out to hurt someone. Guys that don’t give a rat’s ass about the other guy’s physical well being. I know it’s kinda tough because it’s such a competitive sport and emotions run high but Shannahan’s been in the league so long and I don’t think he’s gonna have too much of a problem watching video of some hit and telling right away what the intent was.

    Of all the games I’ve seen Brown play, I’ve never thought “Damn this guy’s a dirty ass player.” Hockey’s a contact sport and he’s good at crushing people. :D

  9. The problem is “nuclear hits” are going to be down all over the league…and fighting will go up. When players start adjusting to the New Nice, then any hit that makes you see stars will be considered outrageous and the gloves will drop.

    So…first the league outlaws hard hits, then it will drop the hammer on fighting.

    We’re on our way to European style hockey. I wonder if the league chumps will have the audacity to change the size of the rink, too.


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