Bruce Brown helps the Nuggets win often, almost stole one for the Avs too

Mar 1, 2023, 11:05 PM | Updated: 11:16 pm
Bruce Brown...
Credit: DMac

With 13:06 left in the second period the Colorado Avalanche were getting thrashed by the New Jersey Devils 5-1 Wednesday night at Ball Arena.

It was a rare and horrific start for goalie Justus Annunen. Newly acquired Center Lars Eller must have been wondering if it was all his fault. The crowd was quieter than Nikola Jokic bragging about getting a triple-double.

And then it happened!

On the massive Jumbotron above center, ice Denver Nuggets’ swiss army knife Bruce Brown was shown wolfing down a bucket of popcorn sitting in stands wearing his Gabriel Landeskog sweater.

Brown has been many things to the Nuggets. He’s a positionless player making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year. Who knew he would be the good luck charm for the Avs too?!?

Twenty-six seconds after the crowd saw Brown, there was magic. Mikko Rantanen collected his 41st goal of the year, making the score made more interesting.

Eighty-eight seconds later, Nathan MacKinnon blasted home a goal from the point. It was a rocket, cutting the lead into two. Ok. Ok. Way more interesting.

All of a sudden there’s Brown on the Jumbotron again!

It was as if Bruce Brown was sprinkling magic on the ice at Ball Arena. Then JT Compher found twine, a third goal in just two minutes and four seconds.

5-4 Devils and The Avs were back into it

The crowd was going bananas. There were folks on the escalator leaving the game that scrambled back to their seats. What was the worst game of the year was shaping up into the biggest comeback. And sure, this may be a stretch, but I’m giving all the credit to Brown!

Brown has been one of the most engaging characters on the local sports scene. He has embraced all things Colorado. He loves country music, wears boots and a cowboy hat (he owns several) regularly and was pumped to attend the stock show this year. I wonder if he’s planning on climbing a 14er and investing in a microbrewery somewhere near Nederland.

Brown has been a glue guy for head coach Michael Malone. He keeps the team stuck together in whatever role he is put in. He reiterated to Denver Sports on Sunday how challenging and rewarding his versatile job is.

The shame of the situation is that it’s highly unlikely the Nuggets are going to afford to keep him next year due to constraints laid out in the NBA’s CBA.

Brown could start on the vast majority of teams in the league; deservedly, his price tag will reflect that. Whereas the Nuggets will be locked into a meager raise at best.

But, you can’t say Brown hasn’t spent his time in our cowtown unwisely. The Nuggets, for years, have been considered an NBA flyover city. But what if more players like Brown were to truly invest themselves in the mountain time zone? It doesn’t hurt playing with the MV3, but it’s not JUST that. It’s clear there is something different with this team this time. It’s a place where players can come and find a family. It’s where sold-out crowds fill every game with love and passion. Most importantly, it’s a place where you can win.

There’s a reason a handful of Nuggets are having career seasons.

Brown has bought into it and everybody on the Nuggets is buying into THAT team spirit. Certainly, that special chemistry was shared by last year’s Stanley Cup Champs. So, maybe there is something in the recycled bottled water they all share at Ball Arena.

Late in the second period, the young goaltender Annunen—making just his fourth career start—gave up another goal. It felt like it wasn’t gonna work out. I mean how much can Brown really do?

Down 6-4 entering the third period it would take hockey tacos to win and it seemed to be out of reach. But, 1:26 into the third, Valeri Nichushkin scored. New Jersey challenged the play for a possible offsides. They lost the challenge and then lost their starting goalie, pulling Vitek Vanecek for Akira Schmid. Devils coach Lindy “I’ve seen enough” Ruff wasn’t gonna sit by and see a six-goal offensive effort go down the drain to the magical powers of Bruce Brown.

The Avs fought back but couldn’t quite get over on a really good Devils team as their six-game win came to an end losing 7-5.

But, hey don’t blame Bruce Brown. As always, he played his part.



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Bruce Brown helps the Nuggets win often, almost stole one for the Avs too