|"The one thing you know that Mike Brown is going to bring is energy," Carlyle said. "He's strong on the forecheck, hard to play against and a good teammate." |
One thing the Ducks knew for sure about Mike Brown when they acquired him from Vancouver more than a month ago was he had no fear of dropping the gloves. In 39 career games with the Canucks, Brown was involved in 18 fights. And while that remains the case for the second-year forward in 13 games (four fights) with Anaheim, the trait standing out the most for Brown is his vigorous approach. That’s earning the 23-year-old bigger opportunities with the Ducks.
In his two seasons in Vancouver, Brown only topped more than 10 minutes of ice time once (10:02 on Dec. 13, 2007). He has already bypassed that mark eight times in a Ducks uniform, including a career-high 17:59 last Sunday against Minnesota. Blistering opponents with a team-high 31 hits since arriving, Brown has earned the extra time with his style of play.
“The one thing you know that Mike Brown is going to bring is energy,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, who plugged the forward on the third line after spots became available following the trade deadline. “He’s strong on the forecheck, hard to play against and a good teammate.”
Says Brown, “That is pretty much my style to go out, play a physical game and bring that energy. If I need to fight, I’ll fight. But otherwise, I’m going to go out there and bang all their good players and make them worried to go back and get the puck. If I can go out there and change the momentum of the game just by a big hit or just playing hard, that is what I’m going to do.”
|"If I can go out there and change the momentum of the game just by a big hit or just playing hard, that is what I'm going to do," said Brown, seen here being congratulated by Chris Pronger after his game-winning goal at Buffalo on Feb. 24. |
He wouldn’t mind being a game-changer in Anaheim’s next contest, on Wednesday night at Honda Center. Not only are the Ducks looking to curb a three-game losing streak (and four straight losses at home), but it will be the first chance Brown gets to face his former team. The Canucks will surely see plenty of the player they sent packing to Anaheim for defenseman Nathan McIver on Feb. 4. It’s a matchup Brown has been anticipating.
“You want to prove that you are on a good team and you’re doing well,” says Brown, whose lone goal with the Ducks (and second of his career) was a game-winner at Buffalo on Feb. 24. “It will be fun playing against those guys that I was playing with for the past couple of years. But I’m a competitive guy, so what’s on the ice, stays on the ice. We can be friends off the ice, but when it comes time for the game, I’ll be ready to go.”
Todd Marchant knows a thing or two about performing dirty work for the Ducks, as he’s been a utility man playing on multiple lines and positions for the team over the last four seasons. Currently a linemate of Brown’s, Marchant likes what he sees from the Northbrook, Illinois native.
|"He plays with a lot of grit," Marchant says of Brown. "You know what you're going to get every night from him. He has been able to prove that." |
“He plays with a lot of grit,” Marchant says. “He is keeping it simple out there. That being said, there have been some games where he’s made some moves on defensemen, got in alone and made some nice plays. You know what you’re going to get every night from him. He has been able to prove that.”
Brown, Marchant and the rest of the Ducks are currently fighting for their playoff lives with 15 games left in the regular season. They sit in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 31-30-6 record, but the standings are so tight that they remain just two points behind the eight and final spot to the postseason. Getting a win against the fifth-place Canucks (a team with 12 wins in its last 15 games) would be an ideal springboard for Anaheim going into the final month of 2008-09.
“We still can control our own destiny, so to speak,” Marchant says. “But it has to start with this game against Vancouver. We know the road for us does not get any easier. That being said, is it possible? Absolutely. Is there still light at the end of the tunnel? Absolutely. Can this team still make the playoffs? Yes, absolutely.”