Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's J.T. Brown tough like NFL dad

COLUMBUS, Ohio — You know what the best part was for J.T. Brown about having a father who did not understand hockey?

There wasn't what Brown called "overbearing pressure" or "too much constructive criticism" which, he noticed with some of his friends in Rosemount, Minn., many times turned into yelling.

Instead, Brown's father, Ted, who played running back for eight seasons for the NFL's Vikings, had one message.

"He always talked to me about controlling how hard I work," Brown said. "That's the only thing you can actually control in a game. You can't control the outcome. You can control how hard you work."

"That allowed him to be who he wants to be," Ted said, "not who I want him to be."

What J.T. Brown, 23, has become is an intriguing addition to the Lightning.

Called up from AHL Syracuse on Nov. 12, the day after Steven Stamkos broke his right leg, the wing has maintained a spot on the second line — right now with center Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov — and played on the first power-play unit.

He is fast, gritty and, despite being an undersized 5 feet 10, 172 pounds, is a regular in corners and in front of the net.

In nine games he has only one goal and two points. But with 24 shots in that stretch, most on the team, coach Jon Cooper said goals can't be far away.

"He's fearless, and you can't have enough of those guys," Cooper said. "It's rare you see him take the puck and pull up; it's going to the net, somehow, some way. You've been witness to the chances he's been getting. That's because he's not afraid to go to the net. When you have that fearless gene, it's just a matter of time before he starts putting them in."

That fearless gene might as well be called the father gene because that was the way Ted Brown (5-10, 206) played for Minnesota from 1979-86, with 4,546 rushing yards, 40 rushing touchdowns and 13 touchdown catches.

Asked if he can see some of himself in his son, Ted said of course, especially in the "physicality of his game. He sticks his nose in places. Instead of me running down the field trying to run over somebody to get to the goal, he's trying to skate around somebody to get to the goal. It's the same mentality."

Ted said he never pushed J.T. to play football, and J.T. said he only played in local rec leagues before deciding in high school to concentrate on hockey.

But when J.T. played football he was a running back and he still wears his father's No. 23.

"I get a little bit of background from football with my dad, and I try to take that onto the ice," said J.T., who signed in March 2012 out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. "You can't be afraid to go into corners, even though you might not be the biggest person."

"My philosophy was play hard, play smart, play together," Ted said. "I always tell him that. Never let anyone dictate what you want to do."

Like father, like son.

Drouin named: Prospect Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 overall draft pick, will play for Canada at the 2014 world junior championship.

Medical matters: Left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie (arm/elbow) traveled with the team, though it was unclear if he will play tonight at Columbus. … D Radko Gudas (upper body) is expected back in the lineup for Saturday's home game against the Jets, Cooper said.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

Lightning's J.T. Brown tough like NFL dad 12/02/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 10:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  2. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  3. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  4. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  5. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17


    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.