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Kings' Dustin Brown sticks with it to bust out of scoring slump

Extra work has paid off for Kings' Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown was putting in extra time, working hard after the Kings' morning skate the other day.

But the Kings captain wasn't on the ice, he was busy in one of the rooms at the El Segundo practice facility, working hard to perfect his hockey sticks.

The baby-faced Brown looked like one of those kids you asked for help in high-school shop class, not a highly paid professional athlete with two Stanley Cup rings. That extra-credit work paid off for Brown later when he broke a 19-game goal-scoring drought, getting one in the first period against Edmonton on Thursday night.

He gave an honest assessment of how he handled his scoring woes.

"It's something, as much as you try not to think about it, you think about it naturally," Brown said Saturday after the team's morning skate in El Segundo.

"That was probably one of the longer ones of my career. I remember I had a 15- or 16-game one a few years ago.

"I've been saying this: there are two types of slumps. Slumps where you're not getting a sniff or not getting any looks. I think the last one I've had — it [the goal] is kind of ironic. That was the one that goes in the net, a sharp-angle shot."

In fact, Brown had a couple of excellent looks in close against the Blackhawks on Monday night at Chicago. Brown was on the third line with center Jarret Stoll and forward Trevor Lewis against the Oilers on Thursday, which was Stoll's first game back since suffering a concussion.

"I've had point-blank chances I haven't been able to bury," Brown said. "It's frustrating to go that long without a goal, but it's also probably more frustrating to go half that time and not have any chances.

"So it's just about staying with it, trying to stay with it. Much like the team game when there's ebbs and flows throughout the year."

Brown's tinkering with his hockey equipment is well known. Although, he is not quite as fanatical as former teammate Simon Gagne, who, Brown said, used to weigh his sticks.

"I have a lot of sticks. I switch my sticks quite a bit," Brown said.

A voice chimed in from the dressing room. It was from an amused Darren Granger, the team's head equipment manager.

Granger: "Very often."

Brown: "I generally use one stick for two or three games and I go to the next one. Now the way they make them they're all pretty much identical."

Heading into Saturday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche, Brown had 11 goals and 27 points in 77 games and a minus-13. His scoring numbers are close to last season's totals, in which he had 27 points, which included 15 goals.

The equipment tinkering can be counterproductive, however, according to Kings Coach Darryl Sutter.

"Now they've changed so much I think sometimes it hurts some of the guys," Sutter said. "You look at Brownie, how much he's changing skates and sticks. That means they're trying to find the right thing, which is not always the right way."

Sounds as if Brown won't be changing anything now for a while?

"Well, hopefully the Easter Bunny comes and he can really have a good three or four games here," Sutter said.


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