TOP 100 OILERS: DAVE BROWN (60)

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Dave Brown spent just 140 regular season games and 26 more in playoffs as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, but if there’s ever been more of a bad-ass and a flat-out stone-cold killer who was more feared by opponents in a long line of notable enforcers, I haven’t met him. 

Brown never needed a written invitation to unholster the jackhammer left hand that was his calling card — wrapped in a tapered and fitted jersey sleeve that made it impossible for opponents to hold on for dear life – and when he did, it was with bad intentions. Brown was hockey’s version of Dirty Harry. He was Anton Chigurh before No Country for Old Men. He had a job to do. Nothing personal.

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Dave Brown (Fight card)

Right Wing — shoots R

Born Oct 12 1962 — Saskatoon, SASK 

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Height 6.05 — Weight 210 [196 cm/95 kg]

Drafted by Philadelphia Flyers


Round 7 #140 overall 1982 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

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Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

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A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1982-83

20

PHI

2

0

0

0

-1

5

2

0.0

1983-84

21

PHI

19

1

5

6

4

98

9

11.1

1984-85

22

PHI

57

3

6

9

-3

165

53

5.7

1985-86

23

PHI

76

10

7

17

7

277

73

13.7

1986-87

24

PHI

62

7

3

10

-7

274

53

13.2

1987-88

25

PHI

47

12

5

17

10

114

41

29.3

1988-89

26

TOT

72

0

5

5

-12

156

42

0.0

1988-89

26

PHI

50

0

3

3

-8

100

28

0.0

1988-89

26

EDM

22

0

2

2

-4

56

14

0.0

1989-90

27

EDM

60

0

6

6

-3

145

32

0.0

1990-91

28

EDM

58

3

4

7

-7

160

32

9.4

1991-92

29

PHI

70

4

2

6

-11

81

50

8.0

1992-93

30

PHI

70

0

2

2

-5

78

19

0.0

1993-94

31

PHI

71

1

4

5

-12

137

16

6.3

1994-95

32

PHI

28

1

2

3

-1

53

8

12.5

1995-96

33

SJS

37

3

1

4

4

46

8

37.5

11 yrs

PHI

552

39

39

78

-27

1382

352

11.1

3 yrs

EDM

140

3

12

15

-14

361

78

3.8

1 yr

SJS

37

3

1

4

4

46

8

37.5

Career

729

45

52

97

-37

1789

438

10.3

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

1983-84

21

PHI

2

0

0

0

0

12

1

0.0

1984-85

22

PHI

11

0

0

0

-1

59

3

0.0

1985-86

23

PHI

5

0

0

0

-3

16

4

0.0

1986-87

24

PHI

26

1

2

3

1

59

15

6.7

1987-88

25

PHI

7

1

0

1

-4

27

6

16.7

1988-89

26

EDM

7

0

0

0

-2

6

5

0.0

1989-90

27

EDM

3

0

0

0

0

0

2

0.0

1990-91

28

EDM

16

0

1

1

-2

30

11

0.0

1994-95

32

PHI

3

0

0

0

0

0

2

0.0

Career

80

2

3

5

-11

209

49

4.1

NOTABLE

Let’s get to the obvious right off the top. There’s a compilation of some of Brown’s fights here. Brown’s called shot against Stu Grimson of the Calgary Flames – a rematch set up by his well-known “Don’t go for a coffee” line – is here. If you watch until the end of the clip, you’ll see Brown in an equally well-known verbal exchange with Calgary tough guy Tim Hunter. As an encore performance, Brown’s demolition of Jim Kyte is below.

                               

Brown was so feared that, even at the end of his career, the toughest players in the game were hesitant to mess with him. During the 1995-96 season, when Brown was with San Jose, Oiler rookie Georges Laraque found himself lined up against Brown during pre-season. “He was looking at me and he was breathing heavy. I kept my head down. It was so far down I could look between my legs and see my goaltender,” laughed Laraque, who wisely fought somebody else.

In an excerpt from his book, Laraque recalled: “I was so scared because of the moment with Dave Brown that it’s all that was in my mind and I didn’t care if I had a $50 million signing bonus to start the year. I was petrified. All I was thinking was ‘Man, somebody is going to break my face.’ It’s scary to do that. You could die in a fight. At 18 years old when I was at my first camp, it was awesome to see Doug Weight and Kelly Buchberger and see those guys. But to see a grown man with a beard when I had little pieces of facial fair, nothing, breathing on top of me at the faceoff. I’d be like, ‘I have to fight that to be here? F–k that.’ That’s how I felt at that time.”

THE STORY

On a personal note, I first met Brown shortly after joining the Edmonton Journal during the 1989-90 season heading into the 1990 Cup run. At the time, I had one of those goofy little pony tails that were in vogue. I was working the Oiler room one day when somebody came up behind me and gave it a tug. I turned around, a bit pissed off to be honest, ready to run my mouth. It was Brown. He smiled and said nothing. Then, he made a scissor motion with his fingers. It got it cut off right after that. No lie.

There’s no disputing that the game has changed to the point where there really isn’t a place for players like Brown today, but in the era when he performed his bloody knuckles handiwork, if Brown wasn’t at the very top of the list of most feared enforcers of his time, he was damn sure close to it. Opponents feared him. Teammates respected him for having their backs without question, no matter what.

When the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup in 1990 in Boston, captain Mark Messier kicked off the celebration by parading the Cup before handing it off to Adam Graves. Moments later, Messier noticed that Brown, who hadn’t dressed in that final game, had made his way down to the bench. Messier waded back into the celebration, grabbed the Cup and handed it off to Brown. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 

If you want a little more Brownie you can check out his Hockeyfights page.

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

PREVIOUSLY:


  • LibrarianMike

    Dave Brown was a monster. The absolute best part of that Grimson fight was the look he gives to the Calgary bench as he’s skating off the ice. You can just feel every Flames sphincter tighten under his gaze.

  • ubermiguel

    I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: of all the fighters I’ve seen since I started watching hockey (early 80s), Brown is the one guy where I genuinely feared for his opponent’s life. His reach was just unfair and his fists looked like sledgehammers.

    • LibrarianMike

      Not to mention the fact that even if his opponent was down, he’d keep punching until he hit ice. Case in point: This article’s header image is the fight of him ‘turning on the lawnmower’ on Jim Kyte. Scary.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    “Kyte is the nail, Brown is the HAMMER! Oh, it looks like he’s starting his lawnmower now!”
    —Darren Dutchyshen

    One of the scariest human beings to ever play this game, and a very deserving spot on this list.

  • @Hallsy4

    I love fighting in hockey, and It’s disappointing that it’s being fazed out. I think hockey is turning for the worst, and has been for a while as there’s barely even hitting anymore. That being said, Tapered and fitted Jersey Sleeve and keep punching his opponents when they were down? I have no respect for a guy like that, I find that actually quite cheap, and against the code. Although I never saw him play. Guys like Laraque honored the code, by the sounds of it Brown didn’t. Shameful.

      • @Hallsy4

        Love to have guys like that on the team. Like Kassian but to a much greater extent. I do not respect a tapered jersey or hitting an opponent once he’s down, which is a fair comment and I will not take it back. I don’t doubt Brown was awesome to have on your team, doesn’t mean I have to respect what I believe breaks the Code of hockey.

    • Rob...

      Watch it again. Kyte throws punches from his back, which is when Brown went ballistic. The code goes both ways… Kyte’s the one who broke code and he paid for it.

      • @Hallsy4

        Fair, I agree with that and glad he got a beatdown. Hadn’t watched the fight yet. Based that comment on just what I read from the article and comments, and by the sounds of it I spoke too soon. My belief in the code I guess got me riled up, and defensive. All hail the code!

      • @Hallsy4

        Lol, I’d say passionate ranting not crying for attention, but label it what you will Bub. Tapered sleeve and punching opponents while they’re down? I’ve seen worse, but to me that’s a disgrace to the game

        • JSR

          Disgrace to the game? Excuse me, but any fight I was ever in, hockey or otherwise, my intent was to win. You do whatever it takes to get an upper edge, especially in the late ’80’s, early ’90’s NHL…the fight wasn’t over until the linesmen got in…Brownie was awesome!

          • @Hallsy4

            In my opinion hockey fights are a lot different than Street fights, but yes, of course the intent is to win. In hockey however, there’s a line, and a Code that I believe in. I was always told, never hit an opponent once he’s down, guys like Laraque wouldn’t do that either. Or Lucic, took it easy on Nurse last year. Honorable guys. I have seen fighters dip their hands in skate sharpening shavingss before expecting a fight, or glue on their hands to cut the opponent, or more obvious tape on their hands, and pulling hair once they were about to lose. Yes, to me all of those are an absolute disgrace to the game and cheating. Tapered Jersey? I put that in a similar boat, because where do you draw the line. It’s cheating your opponent, and if you do that you deserve a crosscheck to the face, not a man to man fight. I have never seen Brown play, and I realize it was a different game in the 80’s and 90’s, which I wish it was the same now. I however, have no respect for someone who cheats their opponent.

      • OilBlood

        Wait…isn’t commenting on a post and getting a reaction the goal of ON?

        Easy Brownlee. Good article but be nice.

        No need to say it’s a cry for attention just because you don’t like what’s posted.

        • Has nothing to do if I “like” what was posted.

          “Shameful” and “disgrace to the game” is barely a notch above empty-headed “Oilers suck” inflammatory commentary spewed by those looking for a reaction. And three straight like that in four minutes? No, that’s not what the site is about.

  • dw

    Amen brother. I will always remember Darren Dutchyshen doing the sports night highlights later that night after the Kyte fight and screaming “it looks like he is starting a lawnmower”. My brother and I were also at the game for Grimson part 2. Grimson basically went to the box with a broken face, sat there for 5 minutes, then went straight off the ice and never played another game for Calgary. That my friends is the impact Brown had. He could hit you so hard it sent you to the minors. Off the ice Brown looked like an accountant, on the ice he was absolute chaos. Just ask Tomas Sandstrom.

  • Leef O'Golin

    Funny thing when I look at that Kyte clip now. When they both go down Brown seems to be trying to break away and Kyte chucks a couple from his position. Probably what sets Brown off…

  • BobbyCanuck

    Big Bad Dave Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town,

    We used to shriek that verse every time he stepped on the ice, good times good times

    I have thought that the Oilers should employ some of these players to teach our youngsters

    The two Dave’s to teach them how to defend/stick up for themselves

    Dave Manson to teach them how to deliver crushing open ice hits

    Keven Lowe to teach them how to play hard every shift

    MacT to teach them responsibility, and how to stick up for your teammates

    Never mind

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    After demolishing Grimson, Stu must have learned a few things cuz he rebounded to be a great fighter in his own right. Hands down Brown was one scary mother!

  • McPucker

    Brown/Grimson 1 – As I recall, Grimson was a rookie and he the Calgary media were spouting off about having cut Brown and being the winner of the fight.

    Brown mentioned something about re-opening a cut.

    Brown/Grimson 2 was the rest of his reply.

  • Seedling

    All these guys talking about the code that Georges LaRaque invented. Gimme a break. Brown and guys of his type were the ones who invented the code and it is not all pixie farts and unicorns like fans these days think it was.

  • It is a very tough position to weight, but Dave Brown was an alpha that really had no peers…….. at freaking all.

    Smac was as capable and insanely powerful but Brown was detached…. like, non cerebral assassin, cold blooded killer vacant. Smac had a snap swtich….. Brown brooded…. relentlessly, and his rage built incrementally…. for days.

    Simply awesome…. well placed Robin. He was a force.. unto himself. This piece re-ups my appreciation.

    FWIW… Lucic is a remote outpost golden glove guy (at best) Brown by comparison is Mike Tyson circa Cus D”Omato.