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KING REPORT

Brown Probably Will Stay With Club

October 26, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

General Manager Dave Taylor said the Kings are "leaning toward" keeping 18-year-old rookie Dustin Brown, who has not scored a point but has been a physical presence on the ice.

Brown signed a three-year, $3.72-million contract on Oct. 4, but the deal would be rolled over and begun next season if Brown is returned to his junior hockey team in Ontario, Canada, before the Kings' 10th game, Nov. 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"He brings a lot of elements," Taylor said. "I'd like to see him get a goal to increase his confidence. He had more chances to score in the first four games than these last four, but I think we're leaning toward keeping him."

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Lubomir Visnovsky and Jaroslav Modry, mainstays as a defense pairing most of the last three seasons, were split up for Saturday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

It may be only temporary, at least until the expected return this week of Mattias Norstrom and Aaron Miller, but the move is designed to spread the wealth among a thin defense corps.

Visnovsky has eight points and Modry has five points, making them the Kings' highest-scoring defensemen. They also have the most experience on the blue line, until Norstrom, who has a bruised chest, and Miller, who has a broken wrist, return.

Visnovsky was paired Saturday with Martin Strbak, Modry with Joe Corvo.

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A day after Chicago General Manager Mike Smith was fired because of a rift with Coach Brian Sutter, King Coach Andy Murray discussed his working relationship with Taylor.

"I don't think there would ever be an adversarial relationship here," Murray said. "We're pretty well on the same wavelength. I call him every day and tell him who we're going to play. I always ask his opinion. He never says, 'do it this way' [but] I listen to what he has to say.

"It's a tough business. I know Mike Smith and I know Brian Sutter and they're not similar in any way. Not at all. I like to think Dave and I are a little more similar."

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