Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has one goal in his last 14 games, while alternate captain Anze Kopitar has just three over the same stretch. Both are big reasons why the Kings rank dead last in offense — but to hear head coach Darryl Sutter explain it, this isn’t about the team.
It’s about Brown and Kopitar.
“These guys talk too much about the team,” Sutter told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “They should talk more about themselves. What they bring to the table. If they were in any other environment, there’d be …”
Care to elaborate, Darryl?
“In terms of the responsibility that they have, in terms of their production, Kopi and Brownie have been stale — from my standpoint — for a little while, together.”
Kopitar and Brown are skating with RW Justin Williams on L.A.’s first line and while Williams has been decent — 15 points in his last 17 games — his linemates haven’t. Kopitar, a two-time 30-goal scorer, has just seven shots on goal in his last four games while Brown, who averaged 27 goals over the last four seasons, has just 11 shots in his last eight.
Sutter tried to put both player’s struggles in perspective.
“It’s not that [Kopitar] is playing poorly,” he said. “If you didn’t look at him as a high-end offensive player, he’s playing well enough in the three zones. When he has the puck in the offensive zone, he’s got to be a lot more determined, purpose player.”
“[Brown’s] a straight-line, up-and-down, go-to-the-net, shoot-the-puck, run-over-people player,” Sutter added. “So 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.”
It should be noted that Sutter took some of the blame with Brown’s production after moving him to left wing from his natural right over a month ago. Since the move, Brown has just one goal and has looked out of sorts.