Brown relishing role with Ducks

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A simple change of scenery has done Mike Brown a world of good.

After spending much of the campaign as a spare part with the Vancouver Canucks, the former Manitoba Moose spark-plug is flourishing as a tenacious role player with the Anaheim Ducks.

"I've been playing a lot more and I found a spot on the penalty kill right now," Brown said after the Ducks earned a shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes last week. "I'm basically trying to prove that I can be a player in this league."

That was tough for Brown to do while playing a limited role (just over five minutes per game when he did make it into the lineup) with the Canucks.

Since the Ducks acquired him in a trade for defenceman Nathan McIver on Feb. 4, Brown has seen his ice time double to more than 10 minutes per game.

Always known for his willingness to delivering a jarring body check and fight at a moment's notice, the 23-year-old from Northbrook, Ill., is blossoming into an effective checking-line player whose speed has allowed him to become a regular among the Ducks penalty killers -- an area of his game that he refined during three seasons with the Moose.

"I've always been a penalty-kill guy growing up, so I take a lot of pride in the penalty kill outworking the power play," said Brown, a fifth round pick (159th overall) of the Canucks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft who had 20 goals, 31 points and 538 penalty minutes in 189 games with the Moose. "It comes down to hard work and the will to block shots. You have to pay attention to a lot of the details and be in the right position at the right time. It's a big part of my game and it's been working out so far. Hopefully, I can keep it going."

"That penalty-killing role has really started to suit him and he feels a lot more comfortable with it," added Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle, the former bench boss and general manager of the Moose. "I'm sure he leads our team in hits since he's gotten here. There isn't a lot of complexity. He's a straight-line guy who's going to go out and give you energy. He's really committed to being a pro hockey player. He's been a welcome addition to us. He's a good teammate, he's going to fight for his team, block shots and he's going to be one of those foot soldiers for you."


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