Kings try to stay focused with trade deadline looming

You could never quite call it a circus-type atmosphere for the Kings at the Toyota Sports Center, not with the Lakers occupying part of the El Segundo complex.

But it came close Friday with the departure of defenseman Jack Johnson, the looming arrival of just-acquired forward Jeff Carter from Columbus, trade rumors engulfing captain Dustin Brown and the completion of defenseman Willie Mitchell’s two-year, $7-million contract extension

Not long after the trade for Carter became official, Brown became a trending topic on Twitter in Canada on Thursday night, rocketing like a hot initial public offering. His wife kept him updated on the latest rumors and he wisely stayed off the Twitter feeding frenzy.

Brown said it has been more difficult to deal with the speculation away from the rink, wondering where he might be headed. Or if he will be dealt.

“I’m not going to say the thought is not there,” Brown said. “When people or media or whoever says something — ‘Don’t think about elephants.’ What do you think about?

“At the same time, I just try to focus on what I need to do to play tomorrow night. Because, as of right now, I’m playing tomorrow night for the L.A. Kings.”

Welcome to the Big Top of the NHL’s trade deadline.

Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi said later Friday, via email, that the team was “not peddling” Brown. That message, to The Times and other outlets, didn’t completely put out the intense burst of enthusiasm about the hard-hitting forward. At least one other NHL general manager thought he had heard Brown was on the block.,0,2547856.story

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