PRINCIPE: What can Brown do for you?
Gene Principe examines what the addition of Mike Brown means for the Oilers
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
In the NHL there don't seem to be any 'days off' when you are trying to build a winning team. The work never stops or can't stop when you're attempting to be better than 29 other squads. Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini was doing his job from the St.Paul hotel on Monday morning. I bumped into him in the lobby and said "Good morning." He politely returned the greeting and then busied himself with another conversation.
Seconds later J.J. Hebert, the team's Director of Communications and Media Relations, said you better check your twitter. I did and at that point realized as his team was packing up and moving forward to the next stop on its nine-game road trip, Tambellini was adding another body to join the team in Columbus.
The name is Mike Brown. He was acquired from Toronto for a fourth-round pick. No one was sent from the current roster to make room for the addition. He's one of those players who you might recognize, but at the same time not know a lot about. He's 27 and plays right wing -- a former Michigan Wolverine who was drafted 159th overall by Vancouver in 2004.
Edmonton will be his fourth team after Vancouver, Anaheim and Toronto. He's 5-foot-11, 205 pounds and in 254 NHL games, has 14 goals, 11 assists and 519 penalty minutes. By those numbers you can tell what he brings to the Oilers. A player with decent size, an edge along with a willingness to mix it up.
The above qualities must have become expendable in Toronto with Colton Orr getting his career back on track after concussion issues and with the Leafs picking up tough guy Frazer McLaren off waivers from San Jose.
Two's company and three's a crowd.
Brown was limited to 12 games. He averaged 4:39 of ice time and had 70 penalty minutes. Doesn't take him long to get involved and it's something Edmonton has been looking to add. A winning team is a puzzle of pieces and count Mike Brown as one of them. He strikes me as a real 'shift disturber.' If the game is quiet and there isn't much going on, the winger knows when it's time to get something started. I'm not suggesting it will be a fight, even though he's proven to be pugilisit. Instead, it's more about going out on the forecheck, running a few defencemen and laying on a big hit.
Edmonton knows he can do that. He was the one last season, with clean contact and no penalty, who bumped into Ryan Nugent Hopkins hard enough for him to re-injure his shoulder and miss seven more games.
That's another quality Brown brings to the rink. The physical ability to be big enough, strong enough and most importantly fast enough to get to the other team's top player, just as he did with RNH. It's one thing to pound the other team's fourth liners or third set of defence pairings, but if you can make your mark on a highly skilled and talented opposing player, your worth goes up exponentially.
Edmonton wanted some grit and they got it in Mike Brown who should be a colourful addition to the lineup.
Gene Principe is the host of Oilers games on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Oilers.