June 14 , 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) talks to the fans during the Stanley Cup victory rally inside Staples Center. The rally was held after the victory parade. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Top 25 in LA--#18 Dustin Brown

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June 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in game six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at the Staples Center. The Kings won the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The Top 25 Most Important People in Sports in LA Today

-#18-

-Dustin Brown-

Dustin Brown is the Captain for the Stanley Cup Champions Los Angeles Kings. What more needs to be said. On a team that top to bottom was not short of contributors, Brown was at the helm when the franchise broke through and won their first championship in the team’s 46-year existence.

Mr. Brown you are free to retire. Or at least take a bow. You get the nod over other athletes in our countdown because you have a championship to your name. To the Kings name.

See who #19 is. . .

Perhaps unfairly, Brown’s game is compared to a role player’s. He absolutely can be workmanlike. Brown has been in the top 3 in hits in the league each of the last 3 seasons. He also lead the league in drawing the most penalties more than once. To be on the ice enough to be tops in either of those categories, your offensive game most be effective enough to warrant the ice time.

If he hadn’t proven it true already, the captain made it evident during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs that he had plenty of offensive skill on the ice to match his leadership off of it. In the Kings 20 game playoff run, Brown had 8 goals, 12 assists, and a whopping +16 +/-. And like linemate and centerman Anze Kopitar, some of Brown’s playoff goals bordered on the spectacular. Throw in Brown’s aggressive style of play and you have one of the most complete players in the league.

That considered it is pretty remarkable that there were rumors about Dean Lombardi moving Brown at the trade deadline. It is a big blow to a team, and insult to a player when management moves THE CAPTAIN (just ask Mike Richards). But Brown took the possible disrespect and used it as motivation.

Even third liner Jarrett Stoll drew big crowds in Hermosa Beach

Brown is only the second American captain to hoist the Stanley Cup as well. As he skated around Staples Center he crossed uncharted territory for the Kings franchise, and its fans.

The Kings have felt like a franchise on the outside looking in at the more popular franchises in LA for a while. Seeing fans at the airport welcoming the team back from a series victory, its evident they have some of the best diehard fans in the league. You could call it a bandwagon, but Dustin Brown has put the Kings on the map in Los Angeles. Everyone wants a piece of the Cup, and the Kings championship. And Dustin Brown captained the team that went on a tear through the playoffs, going up 3-0 in every series.

Now if there is actually a season in 2013, the Kings will once again be a team to be reckoned with as Dustin Brown and the entire championship roster are coming back for next season. Dusitn Brown is not a flashy leader like you might expect in LA, but Brown obviously gets the job done, and that’s why he is #18 on our countdown.

 

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