The LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks head back to Chicago for game five with the Blackhawks up three games to one. One captain helped lead his team in game four. The other? Still looking for him.
Dustin Brown is doing what he does best against Chicago. Hitting, grinding, and being useless on offense. Looking at his stats, Brown is generally reliable. At least 20 goals a season since 2007-08, excluding the current shortened season, good assist numbers, and less than 100 penalty minutes throughout his career.
Those penalty minutes are low because Brown is a pro at questionable and dirty hits when no one is looking. A Google search of ‘Dustin Brown questionable hits’ brought up over 45,000 results. Yeesh, I gave him the benefit of the doubt by using ‘questionable’ instead of ‘dirty’.
With the LA Kings on the verge of tying the Western Conference series, Brown hid like a turtle in his shell, mustering up a penalty call against Chicago that was at best questionable. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on the other hand was skating hard, crashing the net, and playing a simple game that beats big, slow teams. No acting, no whining, just playing end-to-end hockey.
For the Kings’ sake, fans better hope Brown is hurt. His lackluster effort heading into game five is reminiscent of the ire Toews drew for his bad decisions and nonexistent offense against Detroit last round. If Brown is a no-show Saturday, he better fess up to injury or continue hiding.
Three goals and four points in two-plus rounds cannot sit well with LA Kings fans and brass. The heat is on, and Los Angeles has to see some stars show up. The worst captain will have to do his best to extend this series, or expect to deal with fan criticism.
On second thought, if the Kings lose, the fans will forget hockey exists in the building Kobe built, and continue to focus on Yasiel Puig. Because as we all know, Los Angeles cares more about the L.A. Rams (never forget) than the LA Kings. People just don’t demand more coverage for this consistently winning team. This reality exists despite what a proud ascension they have made as a franchise, and what an amazingly awesome Twitter account they have.
Jeff is a Production Assistant @120Sports. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.