But it's more than that, the symbiotic relationship between Brown and his quiet style of leadership and hard, hard style of play and the personality of this Kings' team. It's about the ability to put aside disappointment or distraction. Because it hasn't always been rosy for Brown, even after the 2012 Cup run, just as it's not always been a smooth ride for the Kings as a whole.
This season was an especially difficult time for Brown. After signing an eight-year contract extension that kicks in next season, Brown struggled offensively, scoring just 15 goals. There were a handful of controversial hits and questions about whether he had lost a step. A lock to make the U.S. Olympic team for a second straight time, Brown struggled as the tournament went along and saw his ice time reduced in losses to Canada and Finland to close out a disappointing Olympics for an American team that was a gold-medal favorite in Sochi.
And yet, come playoff time, Brown has played for the most part with the Kings' top line along with Anze Kopitar and playoff goal-scoring leader Marian Gaborik, a reflection of Sutter's confidence in his captain to deliver the goods.
"Well, he's a big part of the identity of our hockey club," Sutter said Tuesday. "I think it's kind of beating a dead horse. He and I have talked a lot about his regular season. The only thing that made the difference then was making the playoffs. Where he was going to make the difference was for our team to make the playoffs and then be a forceful player at playoff time. You know, the type of person he is, that's deep down what he wanted. Nobody was more dissatisfied with his regular season more than Brownie was. It's good to see him have some success. It's good to see him on a team that's still playing."
Certainly, Brown's teammates couldn't care less whether he lit it up in the regular season.
"I think ultimately you're judged on the team's success as the captain of any team. Whether or not he scores 30 goals for us in a year or scores 10, he's still a vital piece of the puzzle, just like everyone else is," Kings winger Justin Williams said. "He'd be the first one to say he didn't have a good regular-season game. But, hey, another guy who could have wilted and went away and said, 'This isn't my year,' pack his bag. Instead he said, I'm going to do this, play whatever role I need to play and help this team. Hits sometimes are overlooked. When Dustin is on the ice, you know it. Whether he's running around or scoring goals, he has a huge impact."
Defenseman Drew Doughty has had the experience of playing alongside Brown as the Kings have risen from fringe team to Stanley Cup power and he's also played against him in two Olympic tournaments.
"Brownie is a great leader, a great captain," Doughty said. "He does a lot of things both on and off the ice, especially on the ice. He works as hard as possible. He cares a lot. The opponents don't like playing against him because he hits so hard and at the same time he can make plays and score goals. When I played against him at the Olympics, basically whenever I had the puck, he was on the ice, I was trying to get rid of it so he couldn't run me."