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)

Rookie Brown seizing opportunity

The Lightning’s J.T. Brown is denied on this chance for a goal vs. the Coyotes but does get his first NHL goal in the game.

Getty Images

The Lightning’s J.T. Brown is denied on this chance for a goal vs. the Coyotes but does get his first NHL goal in the game.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Given the big smile that accompanied his arm-raising celebration after his first career goal, one might have expected more emotion from J.T. Brown after Saturday's game.

But the Lightning's rookie wing was subdued in the locker room at Arena.

Perhaps it was because Tampa Bay had fallen 6-3 to the Coyotes. But Brown also knows one goal isn't a good indicator of whether a player belongs in The Show.

"I wouldn't say that necessarily," he said when asked if the tally made him feel like an NHLer. "It's only been a few games. It takes a lot more than just getting a goal."

Fair enough, but it also is fair to say Brown, 23, has made the most of his three games since his callup from AHL Syracuse as part of Tampa Bay's retooling after Steven Stamkos' injury.

Brown has a goal and two points, is averaging 15:03 of ice time, and has a spot on the second line and the No. 1 power play. He is fast, creates time and space for himself on the ice, and can shoot.

"He's been one of our best forwards at Syracuse," Crunch general manager Julien BriseBois said. "He plays a strong two-way game … and he's really improved his shot over the last year, so he's more of a threat to score goals. His game is just coming into maturity now."

Tampa Bay signed Brown in March 2012 out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He played five games with an assist that season. But with his speed and nose for the net, his potential was evident.

After an injury-filled 2012-13 season with Syracuse, Brown (5 feet 10, 172 pounds) had four goals and 10 points in 13 games before he was called up Tuesday, the day after Stamkos broke his right tibia.

"He was the obvious callup for us, for someone to play forward for us right now," BriseBois said.

"It's a good opportunity," said Brown, from Rosemount, Minn. "You never want to see anybody get injured. At the same time, I'm here right now, and I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help this team keep winning."

That Brown last season played for coach Jon Cooper before Cooper was hired by the Lightning has helped the transition. Brown knows Cooper's system, knows what the coach expects from his players.

Cooper called Brown "a guy who has taken this opportunity and seized it."

In a game Saturday in which not much went right for the Lightning, Brown had two shots, a hit, a blocked shot and a takeaway in 16:07 of ice time.

He scored with a high, long-side wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.

"I don't even know what I was thinking, to be honest with you," Brown said of getting his first goal. "I just saw it go in and just kind of celebrated a little bit."

Rookie Brown seizing opportunity 11/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, November 17, 2013 9:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  2. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  3. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  5. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.