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How good was Rob Brown?

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01-04-2014, 12:25 PM
  #1
Passchendaele
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How good was Rob Brown?

People tend to discredit him for his crazy 115 points in 68 games season because he played with Mario Lemieux, but it looks like he wasn't necessarily a complete leech.

Brown's background:

- Played in the WHL at age 15 (58 points in 50 games)
- Set an all-time scoring record in the WHL at 18 with 212 points in 63 games (3.36 PPG!), leading the league by a 66 point margin.
- The craziest part being that he was still eligible for another year of junior hockey.

For those who are old enough to have seen him play, how good was he?

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01-04-2014, 12:38 PM
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Darth Yoda
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You could see in his later career in the minors that he was an incredibly skilled player, but lacked some critical part(Strenth, speed, toughness?) to be able to take that game to the NHL.

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01-04-2014, 12:48 PM
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ted1971
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If He wasn't on Mario's line in the NHL, He was a below average player. Just because He was a big time scorer in juniors, doesn't mean that He was or would be anything special after that.

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01-04-2014, 01:21 PM
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blogofmike
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The problem was that he couldn't skate, especially by the standards of a guy his size. If he had the same skills and was 220 pounds he could have been a solid power forward, and probably would have found it easier to play in the 1990s. Of course he also had a reputation for being lazy in his own end, so there's that too.

The ideal situation for Rob Brown would be a 4th liner at ES who plays with the first unit PP. He was very good at shooting and passing the puck and was a good PP producer, even without Mario, because standing there and waiting for the puck works on a powerplay.

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01-04-2014, 01:43 PM
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Big Phil
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Had gaudy numbers. I always chalked it up to work ethic to be honest. I certainly thought he was skilled enough. Seemed content to stay in the minors for a long time too, which is a bit bothersome. A little elbow grease and he'd have been fine.

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01-04-2014, 01:51 PM
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BraveCanadian
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He was very talented offensively.

If I recall correctly, the things that really held him back at the NHL level were his skating (somewhat), relatively poor work ethic and lack of willingness to pay a price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ted1971 View Post
If He wasn't on Mario's line in the NHL, He was a below average player. Just because He was a big time scorer in juniors, doesn't mean that He was or would be anything special after that.
I know this is the popular belief around here but that simply isn't true. After leaving Pittsburgh in 90-91 he was practically at a PPG in Hartford the rest of the half season on a sub .500 team. Then he scored at a 30 goal / 60 point pace the next season before being moved to Chicago.

He was definitely an above average talent. He just didn't apply it as well as he maybe could have.


Last edited by BraveCanadian: 01-04-2014 at 02:41 PM.
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01-04-2014, 01:54 PM
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mrzeigler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Had gaudy numbers. I always chalked it up to work ethic to be honest. I certainly thought he was skilled enough. Seemed content to stay in the minors for a long time too, which is a bit bothersome. A little elbow grease and he'd have been fine.
He struck me as a small, skille guy who experienced success easily early in his career in Pittsburgh and probably didn't work as hard as he should have (esp. on his skating ability) because success came so easy riding shotgun to Lemieux, but he definitely got figured it out later in his NHL career when he transformed himself into a serviceable if not remarkable third-line kind of player.

He'll always be one of my favorite players because of that windmill celebration and the how it drove Hextall insane.

In other words, he seemed like a guy who enjoyed his early success and then matured and did what was required to stay in the NHL as long as he could. Not everyone has Crosby's work ethic at age 18, but I will say I vicariously enjoyed knowing one of the guys on MY team was dating teenage Alyssa Milano.

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01-04-2014, 02:38 PM
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Terry Yake
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rob brown

forgot all about that guy. he played a couple decent seasons with the whalers but his numbers weren't even close to what he put up in pittsburgh playing alongside lemieux. didn't realize how crazy his numbers in major juniors were though

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01-04-2014, 03:09 PM
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KennethTheGreat
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I can't speak to his level of desire over the course of his career, but I wouldn't refer to him as "below average" NHL player by any means. He had a nose for the net and could finish, but his lack of size and speed usually seemed to require either playing with a great playmaker (Mario) or his sheer opportunism in order for him to be successful. His defensive shortcomings are pretty well known but I remember Mike Keenan actually using him on the penalty kill a couple of times in the 1992 Campbell Conference final against Edmonton. He played plenty intense in that series. He wasn't horrible with Hartford and Chicago, but just fell off the face of the NHL map, basically, in 1992 until resurfacing to finish his career with the Penguins in the late 1990s. I always thought that was strange.

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01-04-2014, 03:14 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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someone speculated about jimmy carson a while back that he's one of a number of smaller, softer skill guys who dominated early on in the late 80s, but was on their way out of the league in the early 90s when the europeans came over and the league became more athletic. i think that applies equally, if not more, to rob brown.

compare brown to his junior teammate mark recchi. both smaller guys, both sublimely skilled offensively. but recchi was faster, way stronger, and more importantly was willing to skate into guys much bigger than him. but if you look at both guys in kamloops, or on the penguins early on in their careers, brown was the more talented player. exactly the same age, but brown made the WHL two years earlier, got drafted a year earlier, was in the NHL scoring at almost a PPG pace by the time recchi was tearing up the WHL (and even at 19, recchi never touches what brown did in his 18 year old year), scores more points in the NHL than recchi manages to score in the IHL, and in recchi's NHL rookie year brown outscores him handily on the same team. but then things change and recchi takes brown's job.

recchi and brown are night and day in terms of competitiveness. but interesting to think about what separates a guy like rob brown, or ray sheppard, from luc robitaille. i know it's there, i can even see it. but i can't put my finger on it. it's not like brown was hanging out on the perimeter waiting for one-timers like post-atlanta dany heatley. he knew where goals are scored and he'd go there.

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01-04-2014, 03:25 PM
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KennethTheGreat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
someone speculated about jimmy carson a while back that he's one of a number of smaller, softer skill guys who dominated early on in the late 80s, but was on their way out of the league in the early 90s when the europeans came over and the league became more athletic. i think that applies equally, if not more, to rob brown.

compare brown to his junior teammate mark recchi. both smaller guys, both sublimely skilled offensively. but recchi was faster, way stronger, and more importantly was willing to skate into guys much bigger than him. but if you look at both guys in kamloops, or on the penguins early on in their careers, brown was the more talented player. exactly the same age, but brown made the WHL two years earlier, got drafted a year earlier, was in the NHL scoring at almost a PPG pace by the time recchi was tearing up the WHL (and even at 19, recchi never touches what brown did in his 18 year old year), scores more points in the NHL than recchi manages to score in the IHL, and in recchi's NHL rookie year brown outscores him handily on the same team. but then things change and recchi takes brown's job.

recchi and brown are night and day in terms of competitiveness. but interesting to think about what separates a guy like rob brown, or ray sheppard, from luc robitaille. i know it's there, i can even see it. but i can't put my finger on it. it's not like brown was hanging out on the perimeter waiting for one-timers like post-atlanta dany heatley. he knew where goals are scored and he'd go there.
That's a good post. I think, as you allude to, a large part of it is that the league was becoming bigger and more defensive in the early 1990s, after the run-and-gun 1980s. Also, at that time, players from eastern Europe were just becoming free to play in the NHL. Personally, I that circumstance at that time also conspired to have Brown, basically a known commodity, passed over again and again in favor of players who NHL GMs thought might become or be the next Fedorov or Selanne.

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01-04-2014, 06:07 PM
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mrzeigler
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For what it's worth and I know his name is polarizing on here the Pens longtime announcer Mike Lange thinks Brown was the one linemate of #66 who thought the game most like Lemieux. That's a pretty nifty talent to have.

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01-04-2014, 06:13 PM
  #13
ted1971
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Had gaudy numbers. I always chalked it up to work ethic to be honest. I certainly thought he was skilled enough. Seemed content to stay in the minors for a long time too, which is a bit bothersome. A little elbow grease and he'd have been fine.
It's almost a good thing that His name wasn't Rob Boborov. We could then call Him a " lazy Russian".

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01-04-2014, 07:47 PM
  #14
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Hands. He simply didn't screw up in the offensive zone. Lol, sure when he was 25 he played like a 42 year old mark recchi but he had a pretty cool hockey career if you ask me.

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01-04-2014, 08:03 PM
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mrhockey193195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
someone speculated about jimmy carson a while back that he's one of a number of smaller, softer skill guys who dominated early on in the late 80s, but was on their way out of the league in the early 90s when the europeans came over and the league became more athletic. i think that applies equally, if not more, to rob brown.

compare brown to his junior teammate mark recchi. both smaller guys, both sublimely skilled offensively. but recchi was faster, way stronger, and more importantly was willing to skate into guys much bigger than him. but if you look at both guys in kamloops, or on the penguins early on in their careers, brown was the more talented player. exactly the same age, but brown made the WHL two years earlier, got drafted a year earlier, was in the NHL scoring at almost a PPG pace by the time recchi was tearing up the WHL (and even at 19, recchi never touches what brown did in his 18 year old year), scores more points in the NHL than recchi manages to score in the IHL, and in recchi's NHL rookie year brown outscores him handily on the same team. but then things change and recchi takes brown's job.

recchi and brown are night and day in terms of competitiveness. but interesting to think about what separates a guy like rob brown, or ray sheppard, from luc robitaille. i know it's there, i can even see it. but i can't put my finger on it. it's not like brown was hanging out on the perimeter waiting for one-timers like post-atlanta dany heatley. he knew where goals are scored and he'd go there.
Great post, especially the bolded part. Sometimes, the tangible (i.e. physical, skill, IQ) differences between two players is very small, but there is something that one of them is missing that makes all the difference in the world. And like you, many times I have a tough time really figuring out what that difference actually is.

Also, what was the general consensus league-wide on Brown after his 115 point season? Lemieux or not, he was 20 years old and did it in 68 games...that's a hell of an accomplishment. Did people think he had the capacity to become a superstar or even a HOFer?

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01-05-2014, 06:34 AM
  #16
Don Nachbaur 26
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Looked great on Lemieux's wing. From what I recall he had excellent hockey skills, just had a hard part with the skating portion. Good career though, great numbers in the minors.

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01-05-2014, 12:15 PM
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He does colour commentary for the Oilers radio broadcast now.

Weird where guys end up post-career.

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01-05-2014, 12:20 PM
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Rob has his number retired in Kamloops he was a great junior player who lacked foot speed and work ethic at next level.But please dont say this or that he was a great junior player.His father made Kamloops the best junior team in Canada for nearly a decade till some off ice problems derailed organization

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