One cant help but watch Kings Captain Dustin Brown dominate the playoffs with his upstart Los Angeles hockey club, and wonder what might have been for the eliminated Bruins.
Brown is third in the NHL during the playoffs with 11 points, he leads all players with a postseason rating of plus-9 and hes tied for fifth in the league with 39 playoff hits. Hes also played at least two fewer playoff games than the players above him on the registered hits list proof positive of his pit bull nature when it comes to playing hockey.
He plays a punishing, blue collar in-your-face style that practically screams out Bruins.So where does the connection with Boston come in?
Peter Chiarelli had mentioned after the trade deadline that there was an additional winger the Bruins had been pursuing, but in the end he hadnt been able to close the deal. Several sources indicated at the time that the 27-year-old Brown was the player that Chiarelli and the Bruins were shooting for.
But the price was deemed too step for a Kings team that was only exploring Browns value on the market.
At the time Los Angeles was struggling offensively and looked like they might be on the outside looking in when the playoffs started, so they were listening to potential message-sending deals for their talented hockey club.
The Kings also wanted Milan Lucic in exchange for Brown, and who can blame them?
The Bruins werent going to entertain a deal for a player so important to their success, and so vital to their overall style of play. Looking back in hindsight at Lucics 0-for-the-playoffs performance against the Washington Capitals -- or the Full Thornton as my Boston Glove colleague Kevin Paul Dupont is fond of saying -- perhaps some Bruins fans would have been ready to press down on the plunger to do the deal.
The trade never got past the initial discussion stages, but it brings up a couple of natural questions.
How good would a fiery player like Brown have been for the Bruins after getting shipped out of Los Angeles in a blindside at the end of February?
How different would it have been for the Bruins with Dustin Brown skating on the top forward line while allowing Rich Peverley to switch down into the third line role that suited him so well during last years playoff run (thats assuming the Bruins could have made the deal without giving up Lucic)?
Nobody will ever know the answers to these questions, but Chiarellis admission he wanted to get another winger at the trade deadline lets everybody know he wasnt quite sure he had enough offensive ammunition entering the playoffs.
As it turned out the GM was exactly right.
The Bs offense didnt have enough horsepower when the intensity was lifted in the playoffs, and thats one area Brown clearly could have helped. With the Bruins out so early in the spring, everyone is left to ask there kinds of theoretical questions while Stanley Cup playoff hockey rolls on without them.