I’m the first to admit that I try to be as non-partisan as I can despite my obvious allegiance but after learning that Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown received a two-game suspension today, I can’t help sound just a little bias against the decision.
The Kings’ captain had a phone hearing with National Hockey League early this afternoon where it was decided that Brown would miss the final two games of the regular season for his second-period last night on Minnesota’s Jason Pominville.
While the timing of said suspension works out so he’s back in time for the playoffs to start, it’s aggravating to have your team’s most important presence sidelined for two very critical games, the results of which will determine where Los Angeles with finish in the West – as high as fourth or as low as seventh.
Sure, two games isn’t so bad but it’s the principle in addition to the questionable timing. In the risk of sounding partisan, there was nothing wrong with Brown’s hit on Pominville last night. Everyone in the NHL should know what kind of physical presence Dustin Brown is. I’ve said it before but his style is akin to that of Scott Stevens who, like Brown, had a knack of dishing out devastating but legal hits. That’s what Brown’s hit last night should be described as: devastating but legal.
I understand wholeheartedly that the NHL is getting more sensitive about the shoulder-to-head contact between players but how could they be questioning Dustin Brown’s intentions? For all of the bad seeds there are in the league, there are plenty of players who hit hard but are never dirty and the Kings’ captain is one of those players. The Kings are getting ready to face a Detroit team tonight who are desperate to keep the playoff streak going and with weapons like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg up front, the Red Wings have what it takes to do a lot of damage. Will Dustin Brown’s presence alone win a game for his team? Maybe not always but sometimes that is the case. So, the decision the league took to pull the rug from underneath the Kings is bush league as far as I’m concerned.
I like to point out of the positives from every bad situation and in this case, this is a great chance for Tyler Toffoli (who was just recalled from Manchester to fill in) to prove himself but with that said, I don’t understand whether the league thinks what Brown did actually crossed the line or whether they’re trying to make an example of Los Angeles’ fearless captain. Not that it is but if it is the latter, then that’s fine. There’s nothing more motivating than getting into that Us Against the World Mentality.
I’m not calling Jason Pominville a pansy (even though his career in Buffalo would say otherwise) but he knew what he was getting into it when he entered the sights of Number 23 in the silver-and-black.
While I don’t agree with the suspension, at least we’ll get a chance to see how the Kings fare without their captain. I’m happy they already have a playoff spot clinched but let’s make our captain proud and do what we can to lock down home-ice advantage for the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As for Dustin Brown, we’ll see you on Tuesday (or Wednesday) night.