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What can Brown do for you?

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Mike Brown has seven fighting majors under his belt already this year, in 12 games he’s dropped his gloves more times than a kindergartener playing in the snow.

It's part of the role he plays as an enforcer with the Vancouver Canucks; Brown takes care of the dirty work when it needs to be done, regardless of what it is.

But even though it seems that Brown could vigorously fight and provide a spark at any minute on the ice, he isn’t the Energizer bunny.

Brown can’t keep going and going and going without some rest and life on the road is a perfect place to get it.

No museums or malls for Brown on an off day, he covets quiet time to himself.

“I like to use my time off wisely and get my proper rest so it’s good when we’re on the road because you don’t have any distractions,” said Brown, who is fourth on the team with 42 penalty minutes.

“It’s just you in a hotel room, there’s no one to bug you and there’s no distractions, so it’s good.”

In that sense, Brown adores traveling with the Canucks, yet unlike most of the other players on the team, it’s also a waiting game for the Illinois product. Brown is often juggled in and out of the line-up depending on Vancouver’s injuries, their match up and coach Alain Vigneault’s gut instincts.

When he’s in the line-up, it’s business as usual for Brown.

“You take the later skate in the morning so you get a quick skate in, have a pre-game meal and basically take a nap and then go to the game.”

When he’s a healthy scratch he tends to follow the same routine and this is a priority to him because sometimes he doesn’t find out until the last minute that he’ll be in the press box sandwiched in with the sports scribes for the game.

“It really doesn’t change things. I approach the game and I approach practice the same way, the only difference is that I end up watching the game, not skating in it. Some of the games I’ll take warm-up and I have to prepare like I am playing, then if I don’t end up playing I make sure my teammates are ready to play.”

Looking down on the game is frustrating for most players as their livelihood is out on the ice, although there are benefits that come with stepping back and watching the Canucks as an outsider.

Brown is still trying to land a permanent place on Vancouver’s roster so assessing the team’s play from afar helps him tweak his own game. This allows him to have a bigger impact when he factors into the line-up.

“You definitely get a different look at the game when you’re sitting above,” said Brown, a healthy scratch for 16 games this year.

“You see how much more time you actually have on the ice and it helps when you’re watching some of the better players because you see what makes them so good and that can help make you better.”

During Vancouver’s current seven-game trip, which they are 1-3-1 on, Brown has dressed twice, against Columbus and Detroit. He’s unsure whether he’ll see the ice Tuesday in Nashville or Saturday in Edmonton, but he’s preparing mentally to be part of both, as he understands how important finishing this tough road trip with two wins would be for the team.

“They’re going to be tough games. We beat Nashville easy last time but there’s always fluctuations that happen during the year so games like that you can’t think about the past and what happened last time, you have to focus on the present.

“Then Edmonton, they’ve got a tough rink to play in and with them being another Canadian team, their fans are ready to go. Just like here in Vancouver it’s a tough rink to play in but we have to approach it like it’s one of those big games because it really is.”

The Canucks played five games in nine nights to open this road trip, but finish with two contests in six days, so the team as a whole should be extremely well rested as this tour winds down.

Brown is even spryer having not dressed for the last couple games, so his batteries are charged if he is part of the equation for either of the two remaining tilts.

This should allow the sultan of slumber to keep going and going and going, and punching and punching and punching.

A Hockey Life
Five for fighting
Mike Brown's Media Blitz

1 - Career NHL goal

2 - Points in the NHL (1-1-2)

- Road games played as a Canuck

97 - Penalty minutes in 31 career games with Vancouver

534 - PIMs in three seasons with the Manitoba Moose

Brown vs. McCarty
First NHL goal

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