Kings captain Dustin Brown made headlines in the off-season when he agreed to an eight-year contract extension that will kick in when the 2014-15 season begins. This season, the 2013-14 campaign, marks Brown's 10th season with the Kings (he was the club's first round pick in 2003). The Ithaca, New York, native now joins a short list of players that have played at least 10 seasons in Los Angeles.
Dave Taylor heads the list having played all 17 of his NHL seasons in Kings’ colors. Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille and Rob Blake each played 14 seasons in L.A., with Luc enjoying three tours of duty with the club. Another Hall-of-Famer, Marcel Dionne, played 12 seasons while Mattias Norstrom, Butch Goring and Mark Hardy each had 11 seasons. Rounding out the list is Mike Murphy, who played 10 seasons. The addition of Brown now makes it nine players who have played at least 10 seasons with the Kings.
"Going into my negotiations this past summer for my new deal it was important to me to get a lengthy deal done. Having grown up in the organization I wanted to get enough years so that I could retire as a King," Brown said.
If Brown fulfills his next contract and plays all eight years he would pass Taylor's club record of 17 seasons! Asked if this ever entered his mind when he agreed to his new deal, Brown was unaware of its implications.
"I didn't realize that when I was negotiating this summer but if I'm able to play out through my next contract that would be pretty cool...to play more seasons than anyone ever has for the Kings.
"When I planned out this new contract it was my full intention to fulfill the entire term. Other than my first season with the Kings, I've been pretty healthy and haven't missed many games (he's only missed 10 games over the past eight seasons) so I'm hopeful that trend continues."
Brown, now a veteran of over 600 games who ranks 12th on the Kings all-time scoring list, was asked to summarize his first nine seasons with the Kings.
"It's been like climbing up a mountain for me personally and for the team. When I first started we were not a very good team but fortunately we've grown from year-to-year with the apex coming in 2012 with our Stanley Cup. Looking to the future, I like what we have here now, like the guys we have on the roster and feel like it's a group of guys we can win with again."
The 2013-14 campaign marks Brown's sixth as team captain and his on and off the ice leadership has been a big reason why the Kings eventually got to the top of the mountain and the view from there has looked awfully good ever since.
What comes around...goes around. The NHL begins the new season with a new look in its division alignments. Gone are the five teams in each division and three divisions in each conference format with the new-look alignment featuring two divisions in each conference. In the West there are now two divisions with seven teams, and in the East two divisions with eight teams.
A big factor in adjusting the divisions had to do with putting Detroit and Columbus in the East after spending years as the only two Eastern Time Zone teams to play in the West. Now all 16 NHL franchises from the Eastern Time Zone play within the same conference.
For the Kings it means welcoming back into the "new" Pacific Division foes from yester-year in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Those three join L.A., San Jose, Anaheim and Phoenix in the seven-team Pacific.
The Oilers, Flames and Canucks were Kings division rivals for 17 seasons beginning in 1981-82 until the end of the 1997-98 campaign. As a matter of fact, Vancouver is the opponent the Kings have played the most in the club's 46-year history. The two have met a total of 227 times in the regular season and another 28 times in the playoffs. The Kings have played 36 playoff games against the Oilers, the most of any opponent, and the Kings/Flames rivalry includes 242 games between each franchise.
Under the new set-up...the top three teams in each division automatically qualify for the postseason and the final two seeds will be awarded to the two teams with the most points of the remaining teams in the conference. In other words, you could see five teams from the seven-team Pacific Division make the playoffs and only three from the Central qualify (the Western Conference's other division).
Scotty Bowman is the all-time leader in coaching wins with 1,244, and Stanley Cup titles as a coach with nine. His win total is 462 victories ahead of Al Arbour, who ranks second, while his Cup total is one ahead of Toe Blake's eight. Bowman's impressive numbers seem out of reach on both fronts, especially the nine Cups, when you consider that no other active coach has won more than two! His 1,244 victories may get some competition however.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville entered this season as the leader in career wins among active coaches with 660. This total ranks him sixth on the all-time list behind Bowman, Arbour (782), Dick Irvin (691), Pat Quinn (684) and Mike Keenan (672).
Quenneville, now 55, has been a head coach since 1996-97. His first assignment was for the St. Louis Blues and after eight seasons there he moved on to Colorado (three seasons) and then Chicago. This season will be Quenneville's sixth with the Hawks, and to say he hasn't been successful in the Windy City would be a gross understatement. During his tenure he has won the Cup twice...last season and in 2010.
The veteran coach doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon as the club gave him a three-year extension this past summer and with a solid core of young players his team will, no doubt, be serious challengers in the next few seasons. All of this leads us back to Bowman's record of 1,244 wins.
Given his age and his track record, it is certainly not a stretch to see Quenneville coaching for a while longer. By averaging 40 wins a year over the next 10 seasons, he would join Bowman as the only coaches with over 1,000 wins. Another 400 victories gets him to 1,060 and well within reach of the all-time record. Right now it appears to be a good bet that 1,000 wins is certainly attainable. If and when his time in Chicago comes to an end he should have no problem finding work with another team based on his success.
Being second to Scotty Bowman in anything would be quite an accomplishment and it's almost a certainty that Quenneville will, at least, end up second to the legendary coach in wins needing only 123 more to reach this level.
Nick Nickson is in his 33rd season of calling Kings’ action on the radio. He and his partner, former Kings left wing Daryl Evans, can be heard on KTLK AM 1150 and along the Kings Radio Network. Nick and Daryl invite all Kings’ fans to join them for “Kings Talk” on the radio after every Kings home game. Call 1-877-Kings08 or 1-877-546-4708 with questions and comments or watch the show LIVE as they broadcast from The Mixing Room at the JW Marriott LA Live.