Of all the alarming statistics Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown has compiled this year, one stands out above the rest — 25 hits through 12 games, way down from his usual average.
For Brown, it’s not a big deal — “I don’t really look at my hit totals, I probably get more physical as the year goes on,” he explained — but for head coach Darryl Sutter, it’s a problem.
“The season’s going on,” Sutter told the L.A. Times. “Twelve games in.”
In addition to the lack of hits (averaging 2.08 per game, down from 3.39 last season), Brown isn’t doing much offensively. He has just two goals and five points, putting him on pace for his lowest output since his sophomore campaign of 2005-06.
Of course, Brown does have some excuses.
He missed almost the entire preseason with a hamstring injury and still plays with a knee brace stemming from an injury last season. He’s also recently logged some time on the team’s third line alongside Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis, two guys that have had their own issues producing offensively (Stoll has just two points through 12 games, Lewis has none.)
All of this, Sutter says, can be remedied by Brown doing what he does best — establishing the physical part of his game, and throwing some hits.
“He’s got to play a certain way to be effective,” Sutter said, “and that’s important.”