Following practice yesterday, I asked Brown simply, is there a problem?
"I think its an individual thing." Brown began. "We're professionals. We're paid to come prepared to play. I think it's something that every individual on this team, they need to come ready. Partly it's coming together as a team but if you're not ready to go individually, collectively we're not going to be nearly as strong."
"I think it comes down to not having enough individuals ready. I think it comes down to purely the individual preparing themselves honestly."
I asked if it was the captains responsibility to approach that individual. Brown replied, "I think its something we've addressed. Hopefully it gets through and people are better at it. We talked about it a few times this year. It has to be corrected sooner rather than later by the individual".
When asked if it was his responsibility or Terry Murray's, Brown stated, "I think its a mixture of both. But again, ultimately it falls on the responsibility of the shoulders of the player, or players, collectively. The coach can preach all he wants and people can yell all they want but its up to the athlete to make up his mind if they want to be better and want to play."
I then asked Terry Murray if he agreed with Brown's statements. "We have been talking about that, getting ready to get going, making sure that each one of you individually is doing what you need to do to bring your best game... the responsibility for that is the individual player to come and play the game."
"We need to get to the right level of play to match the intensity of the opponent... or if you're just inconsistent, we get a couple of really good shifts, which is what's been happening, and then we're dropping back off and not following it up and that's also a concern that needs to be addressed."
Maybe that's why Dean Lombardi is accompanying the team to San Jose.
Okay, so let's play along at home. Who could Dustin Brown be talking about? Let's run down the list...
Himself? I'll say no.
Purcell? Maybe, but Murray has been praising him, especially re hard work.
Ivanans? Yes, of course, it's Raitis! No.
Harrold? He's been plenty prepared in the press box. No.
Johnson? Possible, but my impression is that he's working his *** off and Murray likes it. Mistakes aside.
Drewiske? I doubt it.
Jones? In light of the benching, I'll say maybe.
So who does that boil down to? Frolov, Purcell, Johnson, Jones. I don't think it's Jones. The timing isn't right. He was playing like gangbusters around the time of Brown's first comments. Johnson, again, I think it's unlikely. He's been getting more icetime, not less.
Frolov and Purcell. And, really, it's down to Frolov, because Teddy is busting his ass, but choking.