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Dustin Brown, One of the Most Respected Captain’s in the NHL is the 2014 Mark Messier Leadership Award Winner

June 24th, 2014 at 11:34 PM
By Suzanna Bezyan

Every time the Los Angeles Kings are stuck in a no winning, no goal scoring slump, it’s easy for people to point fingers. Just like in 2012 before the Kings won the Stanley Cup, Dustin Brown was being pointed to yet again and that shouldn’t have been the case. He is a humble, reserved and non-vocal captain who puts his team first before anything else, that’s leadership.

It is never one person’s fault, just like before, the team will come out of this. Often people seem to point the finger at Brown because he is the captain and they want him to lead by example, i.e. scoring goals, and he does. Brown has said over and over again, he plays to win and he instills and believes that his team does the same. In this article, reasons will be given as to why Brown was named the bleacherreport.com’s “10 Most Respected Captains in the NHL Today” proving the phenomenal job he is already doing.

To add, on Tuesday, Mark Messier handed Brown the Mark Messier Leadership Award at the 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, reinforcing his phenomenal work as the Captain.

“His commitment on the ice to play every shift like it’s his last, every game like his last, the way the team has performed over the last several years, taking a team that’s really rebuilt in becoming a powerhouse in the league, and then, of course, everything he does off the ice,” Messier said. “That combination is not rare, but it’s something that professional athletes have to pay attention to because the game itself is so demanding on your time emotionally that you really have to be focused to do what he does off the ice and make that big of an impact.”

Brown was humbled to be given the award by one of his favorite players (he was an Oilers fan growing up in New York), and though it was nice because Messier has a say in who gets the award. Brown said that he may wear the “C” but it’s a team effort, he noted what a great team it is in Los Angeles.

Before the start of the 2008-09 season, the Kings’ named Brown the 15th captain in team history on October 8, 2008, making him the youngest and only American-born captain in team history.

When Brown was named the captain of the Kings, he had one dream and one dream only, to be the first captain in franchise history to raise the Stanley Cup. Brown helped build a team, who went through a lot together until they made it to the Stanley Cup Final and won the Stanley Cup on June 11, 2012, a day no Kings fan, player, or staff will ever forget. He repeated it two years later, as the Kings went through what was said to be the great playoff run in LA Sports History, to become the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions on June 13.

Brown has ranked between first, second and third from 2006-07 season through the 2011-12 season in the league with hits. In the 2012-13 season he was eighth. Brown is known for his physical style of game. Brown considers himself a clean hitter. He had never been issued a fine or suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety until April 24, 2013, when he received a two-game suspension for an illegal elbow to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville on April 23, 2013. Despite his physical style, Brown has not missed a game due to injury in four seasons. Most teams know and fear Brown’s style of play when they are facing the Kings.

Though feared on the ice, he is respected, and not just on the ice but off the ice as well. He is the type of captain that ensures his teams bonds and that he is always available to them. Though he is more of the quiet reserved type, Brown has truly grown since he was drafted by the Kings in 2003. In the summer of 2013, with one year remaining on his contract, the Kings signed Brown to an eight year contract extension, running through the 2021-22 season.

General Manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Daily News, “You add him to the core of the other top players we now have signed to long-term deals. Having your captain under the umbrella certainly is a good feeling. He’s a classic case of somebody’s who’s grown, not only as a player but as man, every year. When I first got here, it was very difficult to get two words out of him. To see how much he’s grown as a person is as incredible as his game.” Lombardi added that you see how much he’s grown based on him negotiating his own contract and putting his team first in his negotiation. He made sure it was in the best interest of the team.

Another reason why Dustin Brown is respected is due to his charity work. Brown has been nominated twice in the past two seasons for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and of course won it this year, for his pledge to donate $50 to charity per each hit he dishes out on the ice. As the captain, he has helped establish the Kings to be known as that strong physical team, not just defensively but offensively too. Being a well-rounded all around professional athlete is a reason he is highly complimented.

The team captain has received the organizations Community Service Award several times, and was awarded the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2010-11. Brown has been the Kings Most Popular Player four times and Most Inspirational Player in 2007-08.

After becoming a father to four children in the last five years, Brown is has become involved with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Ronal McDonald House Charities of Southern California, building playgrounds with his organization Kaboom, and military causes ( close to his heart due to his wife Nicole’s cousin who died due to suffered wounds in Afghanistan).

Brown told Sporting News, “I think it’s important as a professional athlete to be out there, whether you’re part of the L.A. Kings or any team. You’re part of the community, with a chance to make a huge difference. Most players do a good job, and it’s one of those things that it’s an opportunity and a responsibility at the same time.”

Brown was also a 2009 NHL All-Star, a silver medalist with Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics, a member of Team USA at the World Championships four times, and the World Junior Championships twice . He will represent Team USA again in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as one of the alternate captains.

Tags: Dustin Brown, Hockey, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Kings, NHL

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