|“It’s a great group of guys in here and they all welcomed me real well," Brown says. "It’s hard to jump right in there, but they made it easy for me. I’m just excited to be here.” |
You’ll have to excuse Mike Brown if his head is spinning a little bit.
That will happen to a guy who flies through the night from Vancouver to Toronto to Nashville, arrives first thing in the morning and a few hours later he’s playing a hockey game with a bunch of guys he just met.
Brown endured that whirlwind adventure late last week when the Ducks traded for him in exchange for little-used defenseman Nathan McIver. Brown was walking around Vancouver during a scheduled day off when his cell phone buzzed and Canucks Assistant GM Laurence Gilman was on the other end, informing him he had just been dealt to Anaheim.
“For whatever reason, they didn’t have enough room for me,” Brown says. “They had a lot of bodies and this was a chance to go to an organization that needed me and wanted me.”
When it came to the trade, Brown didn’t have a lot of time to think of the why, but rather the how, as in how he was going to get to Nashville in a hurry to join his new teammates. He was quickly booked on a red eye that left at 10:45 that night and took the circuitous route of jetting east to Toronto before connecting on a southward flight to Nashville.
“I flew all night, slept a few hours on the plane and got into Nashville at around 9:30 that morning,” Brown recalls. “I got to meet the guys, we had a team stretch, then I took a long pregame nap, had a coffee and I was ready to go.”
It’s a good thing, because the Ducks thrust him into that night’s game against the Predators and gave him 11 minutes, 38 seconds of ice time, more than he’d had all season in Vancouver. In fact, that game was just the third he’d played since Jan. 2.
“I was basically playing on adrenaline,” the 23-year-old Brown said. And it showed, as he was flying around the ice the entire night while playing on a line with center Ryan Carter and left wing Drew Miller. He had two shots on goal and tied for a game-high four hits.
| “I play a physical game, get under guys’ skin and I’ll fight if I need to fight,” says Brown, who had 11 fighting majors in just 20 games with Vancouver this season. “I’m always kind of looking to agitate.” |
That type of vigor was exactly what the Ducks were hoping for. “He’s going to go out there and provide energy, try and hit and be a physical force,” says Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who put Brown back in the lineup two nights later in a win over Calgary. “It was a tough situation for him to get acclimated to our system, but we think in the right situation, he can play. There is some versatility there we can hopefully tap into. I expect him to be first on the forecheck and be a physical player.”
Brown, who used to spend summers in California visiting relatives on his mom’s side in San Diego, didn’t arrive in Orange County until the Ducks returned home from their road trip over the weekend. But he’s already found a place to live temporarily, and is looking forward to a climate change from his previous home in the Pacific Northwest. “I’m excited about the weather here,” Brown says. “It’s good to get out of that rain and cold.”
Meanwhile, his brand new teammates are also helping make the adjustment that much smoother. “The guys have been real nice,” Brown says. “It’s a great group of guys in here and they all welcomed me real well. It seems like they have a lot of fun in this room and we can go pretty far. It’s hard to jump right in there, but they made it easy for me. The staff has treated me real well and I like the way they run things. I’m just excited to be here.”
Brown himself has a reputation of being accommodating, notably with his uniform number in Vancouver. He was wearing 13 in Vancouver, a number he wore for virtually his entire hockey life, until the Canucks acquired Mats Sundin, who had word that number for years in Toronto. The Canucks politely asked Brown if he would give it up, and he gladly switched to 15 without asking Sundin for anything in return. “Maybe he was going to take care of me at the end of the year,” Brown laughs.
|"He’s going to go out there and provide energy, try and hit and be a physical force,” says Carlyle of Brown.“It was a tough situation for him to get acclimated to our system, but we think in the right situation, he can play.” |
Brown’s back in 13 with the Ducks, and despite playing two games in that uniform, he has yet to do one of the things he enjoys most – drop the gloves.
“I play a physical game, get under guys’ skin and I’ll fight if I need to fight,” says Brown, who had 11 fighting majors in just 20 games with Vancouver this season. “I’m always kind of looking to agitate. It didn’t happen the first couple of games, but hopefully I’ll get something fun to watch going soon.”
That could very well happen Wednesday night, if Brown is in the lineup for his first home game in Anaheim, a rematch with those gritty Flames.
“I’m excited to play here and see how the fans are,” Brown says. “I’ve heard great things about this building and the fans here and I’m excited to show them what I can do.”
And exactly what is it that Brown can do?
“I’m going to come out every shift and give it everything I have,” Brown says. “I’ll leave nothing behind.”