Dustin Brown gives fans at Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final a closer look at… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Dustin Brown impressed Jack Ferreira, special assistant to General Manager Dean Lombardi, when he spoke to players at the Kings' prospects camp in 2008.
"I went upstairs and told Dean, 'I just saw your team captain speak,' " Ferreira said.
Brown became the Kings' captain that season, making him the youngest to hold that honor in team history. He has held that position since.
"You don't just put a 'C' on a guy's jersey," Lombardi said. "They have to earn it."
There is little doubt Brown has done so.
He played a big role in the Kings' playoff drive. He had four goals against Vancouver in the first round. He had two short-handed goals in a 4-2 victory in Game 2 and scored the only goal of Game 3.
Brown's goal gave the Kings a 1-0 lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He also had two assists, as the Kings clinched the series. His reward, as team captain, was to be handed the Stanley Cup first.
Opponents were acutely aware of his presence even when the puck wasn't on his stick. Brown leveled Vancouver's Henrik Sedin in Game 3, and his jaw-rattling hit on Phoenix's Michal Rozsival preceded Dustin Penner's series-clinching overtime goal in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Brown, 27, was the 13th player selected in the 2003 draft. His physical style made him special.
"He buried guys with his checks," said former Kings GM Dave Taylor, who drafted Brown.
"That's what I do," Brown said.
He has also scored at least 20 goals in each of the last five seasons.
"A lot of your physical guys aren't good players and never get on the ice," Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said. "This is a guy who plays 22 minutes against your best guys. You've got to keep your head up because he's always on the hunt."