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More Than A Fu Manchu

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
RELATED: Leafs Acquire Mike Brown

VIDEO: Brown's First Leafs Fight | Brown Interview - Sept. 23
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Mike Brown has a Fu Manchu as well as nine goals and 306 penalty minutes in 142 NHL games.

He is, in the estimation of Leafs coach Ron Wilson, absolutely perfect.

When GM Brian Burke landed Brown from Anaheim for a fifth-rounder this summer, people barely looked up. All you need know about Mike Brown, a 25-year-old native of the Chicago suburb of Northrbook, is that he isn’t even listed on Wikipedia but he gives the Leafs a backup puncher to Colton Orr.

“I never really scored too many goals, maybe when I was younger I scored a couple,” Brown said. “I was always a physical player. I just developed the hitting part of the game and as soon as I got pro the hitting turned into the fighting.”

Brown’s career has been a study in unimpressive statistics. He likes to fight, but at less than six feet and 210 pounds he is dwarfed by the true heavyweights. He is a very good skater but his goal totals usually correspond with the fingers on one hand.

Brown’s gift is havoc. He gets about 10 minutes a night to either keep things going well or try to knock the train off the track.

“My job is to bang the body, disrupt their D man and play a good penalty kill game. I want to wear down their line, beat them down, play well in the offensive zone and play well defensively.”

Wilson believes Brown can help bolster one of the team’s biggest shortfalls from last year.

“Obviously one of our big concerns last year was penalty killing. He’s a guy who has done a little bit, not always a primary penalty killer, but in the couple of games we have played so far he has nailed what we are trying to do.”

The tricky thing for Brown will be how to do all of the above and still be on the ice when it comes time to kill a penalty in the eight to 10 minutes he will see a night.

“He’s got to bring the hitting and starting things and then hopefully not be sitting in the box when we are going to kill penalties,” Wilson said.

“He understands that. He’ll probably be a nine or 10-minute guy which is probably more than he’s had in the past.”

Brown did in fact average 8:21 a game last season. Gaining a little more time to practice his unique craft, he said, is fine with him.

“I like going out and giving it everything I have, especially the PK. I love trying really hard and outworking their guy.”
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