I understand why Phoenix fans are upset that Dustin Brown didn’t get a penalty for his overtime hit on Michal Roszival last night. It could have gone either way, and hey, fans tend to see things their way. And being that the Coyotes didn’t have the benefit of immediate replay (aside from a possible neck-straining jumbotron glance), I understand why they were so upset too.

But after multiple views from multiple angles, I think not calling a penalty on the borderline play was the right decision. Here’s the video, then let’s look at the hit frame by frame.

To open things up, we’ve got what’s essentially going to be a 3-on-3. Roszival has jumped up into the play and has the puck on the near boards, while two Coyotes forwards are about to start busting through the middle.

Brown, on the opposite side of the ice, is watching the puck carrier and trying to read the play he’s going to have to make.

Roszival starts to cut in the next picture.

That likely means the other two forwards will push through towards the net once the puck gets over the blueline, and the d-men will take them (as opposed to letting them get in behind them undefended).

Regardless, the situation has started to present itself: Roszival looks like he’s going to skate across the blue with the puck, and Brown’s eyes are lighting up. He sees a free chance to blow a guy up, get some momentum, stop a play, get on highlight reels, cause a turnover, and maybe hurt a guy enough to make him think twice about cutting the blue again. There’s plenty of reason to go for a big hit here.

Yup, it’s happening. Roszival is cutting across the line, and Brown is starting his push up to destroy him.

It’s going to be offside, but there’s no whistle until the puck fully crosses the blueline, so they aren’t close to blowing the play dead yet.

Brown has a pretty good chance to get shoulder into chest here, and he’s cutting up as quickly as he can to meet Roszival, who for the first time realizes what’s unfolding, and is about to start cutting higher too.

Here’s the contact.

Brown’s shoulder is on Roszival’s shoulder. He leg is between his legs too, making for a little thigh-on-thigh contact (with a touch of knee), but for my money, the initial contact was with the body (if not simultaneous). And with what is traditionally looked upon as kneeing – one guy getting around another, and the beaten man extending his leg – I don’t think Brown deserves the villain label here.

The tough part is that even though the shoulders hit first, that doesn’t mean the legs won’t hit second. They do, and Brown is in a lot more stable position than his opponent. The blow sends both players into a spin.

One guy’s leg gets buckled…

…and the other miraculously manages to stand, and walks away unhurt.

As we said on the podcast this morning: if Brown gets a kneeing penalty there, I wouldn’t think it was a terrible call. The spin-fall always makes it look suspect, and hey – he probably could have given him a free pass and not risk a sketchy collision. I don’t blame him for not letting him by in overtime of the West Final.

Anyone who suggests the hit was late, as Bob Cole did, is just flat wrong (with the benefit of multiple replays, I’m sure he’d agree). The video is below so you can give it another watch and notice that the whistle goes milliseconds before contact, or maybe even during.

After seeing how it all unfolded, seeing where the principle point of contact was, and seeing that it wasn’t late, I rule Dustin Brown to be ”not guilty.”

Comments (53)

  1. You’re wrong about it being late. Watch it again in real time – I was able to get a full “one-onethousand” count in between when the whistle goes and when Brown makes contact with Roszival. That may not be enough time to fully avoid contact, but it’s enough to pull up so that the contact is minimized (and your leg isn’t outside the frame of your body and hitting the other guy’s leg) instead of running through a guy after the whistle. I don’t think the leg contact in and of itself is that bad, but when you add it to the hit being clearly late then I think you have to call a penalty there.

    • I just watched it 5 times trying to sneak a full “one-onethousand” between whistle and hit, simply can’t do it.

      Not sure which video you are watching. I’m sure someone will breakdown the actual time from whistle to hit using frame-by-frame shots. I would be surprised if it is anywhere near the .5 seconds NHL uses to determine late hits.

      • I don’t get all this guys fans but the hit is late, clearly not > 1 sec but < 1 sec, and this guy is an opportunist that has taken advantage of this position many times. This is what I would call a predatrory nature that deserves watching. Typicallly in a self-regulated league what goes around comes around. I would expect a short lifespan overall for him, time will tell….

      • I don’t get all this guys fans but the hit is late, clearly not > 1 sec but < 1 sec, and this guy is an opportunist that has taken advantage of this position many times. This is what I would call a predatrory nature that deserves watching. Typicallly in a self-regulated league what goes around comes around. I would expect a short lifespan overall for him, time will tell….

      • I don’t get all this guys fans but the hit is late, clearly not > 1 sec but < 1 sec and to the knee, and this guy is an opportunist that has taken advantage of this position many times. This is what I would call a predatrory nature that deserves watching. Typicallly in a self-regulated league what goes around comes around. I would expect a short lifespan overall for him, time will tell….

    • Josh, there is no way that Brown has enough time to do anything about it. I don’t know how you got to count one one thousand by the time the whistle blew in the video, and when contact was made. I got maybe half that (listen for the whistle and not look at when he crosses the blue line). I don’t think there was enough time for him to do anything about it,

      • This is another area you and I disagree Mr. Bourne. I think elite hockey players in the NHL have the ability to make those split-second decisions, which helps make them superstars. What is the difference between Linus Omark and Martin St. Louis? Split-second decisions that put St. Louis in the “right place” and have Omark out of position, for example.

        Watch the plays guys make with split-second decisions: do you think Ilya Kovalchuk is saying: “you know, I’m going to dangle like a bengal, toe-drag, and then go BHS on Lundqvist in this next play” as he’s crossing the red line? No, he’s reacting, in a split-second, to the way the defence he is facing.

        These guys make these decisions all the time but all of a sudden can’t do anything unless it is at a snails pace when it comes to hitting? People don’t make mention of this when someone scores a highlight reel goal or, like Marty, throws up a pad in desperation to make a huge scorpion save after Gaborik makes a quick decision to try and flip it over Brodeur to avoid the poke check. Care to count the frames on those plays and then tell me he can’t get his knee out of the way (which he sets a full 4 frames before contact?

        • Sorry, Kovalchuk is reacting to the way the defence he is facing reacts and adjusts.

          • There was no avoiding a collision if you have a rudimentary understanding of physics. The speed at which both players were moving and the timing it would have been impossible to avoid contact of some kind.

            So that leaves a couple possibilities:

            1. Brown do whatever he can to avoid hitting Roszival. If he stops plainly he is exposing himself to being leveled by hard charging Roszival, putting himself in a vulnerable position. If he dodges to outside there’s a good chance he’s making direct contact and we see a bigger explosion type hit (potentially with the head of Roszival being point of contact). He he dodges inside, it’s a coin flip whether he gets his leg out of the way in time in any event. If he opts this route he destabilizes his own leg and basically puts himself at bigger risk than stopping dead. Finally there is the issue of a hard skating Kopitar coming back, increasing likelihood of a collision and further limiting options.

            2. He could continue through the hit as he did.

            The only question which could legitimately be raised on this hit is whether or not he should have gone for the kill shot. Again, I’ll refer back to the fact it was Conf finals in OT and an elimination game. There is no way any King is not taking the man out on that play.

            The result is unfortunate. However, it is the result of Roszival putting himself in that position with a dumb play. It’s not like every player on the ice doesn’t know Brown is a freight train looking to blow you up if you give him the chance. Need to be aware of who you are playing against. Just like players need to be aware when Kovalchuk is on ice and adjust accordingly, so do they need to be aware when Brown on ice.

          • Frenachise, I am on my BB and cannot see a reply option by your comment. My problem is not Roszival’s choice to cut across the middle. A hit should be expected but not a knee. Roszival doesn’t try to dipsy-doodle a la Wa

          • Frenachise, I am on my BB and cannot see a reply option by your comment. My problem is not Roszival’s choice to cut across the middle. A hit should be expected but not a knee. Roszival doesn’t try to dipsy-doodle a la Rangers shootout move against Washington. He stays on rhe same path and deserves a solid body check. Alas, Brown either sets the wrong lane, which is borderline stupid and is why guys play in the ECHL instead of NHL, or his intention was to force Roszival to move by presenting a possibilty of a knee. Roszival has a right to his path and can expected legal hitting to be separated from the puck, not having to move because a guy might leave a knee out there. As for your options in your first scenario, the former is what a good hitter would do: move directly into Roszival’s path but lower the shoulder and make contact with the chest, which is a good hockey play.

        • He sets his leg because he’s trying to turn up ice. Clearly you don’t understand the theory behind reaction time. You keep posting that elite athletes should be able to do something in a split second…yes, something that they are TRYING to do as part of an active thought process. Brown is trying to make a hit, he’s not thinking that oh a whistle is going to be blown, I’m going to have to avoid this hit.

          You keep talking about their great reaction times, yet we constantly see them miss pucks that slide by instead of tapping them into the net. We see shots that clearly get by goalies (John Quick from the Red Line?) they had plenty of time to stop, because they are caught by…holy smokes, surprise! Something occurred beyond their current focus thus slowing down their reaction time. You are living in a dream world where you expect the extraordinary to occur regularly.

          • On the contrary, iunderstand reaction time well. Brown does not make a move up ice; he makes a move that is lateral across the ice surface as is evisent from the screen shots above. Brown knows full well that he is setting himself up for a collision. The difference is that a “clean” hit would have seen a player in Brown’s position adjust themselves to have their shoulder lined up to hit Roszival. In the second frame, Roszival sets his path to move laterally across the ice just inside the blueline. Brown sets his line across the Stanley Cup logo, which is Brown putting himself in a defensive position between Roszival and the net. If a hit were the intention, Brown would have taken a slightly different path. As I am sure you’ve heard in your life, inches matter. If Brown starts his line 4 to 6 inches closer to the blueline then the contact is primarily shoulder to chest unless 3oszival moves. That means one of two things: either Brown is a reckless hitter or Brown’s positioning set the potential for a knee to happen if Roszival is unable to react or move. Now I don’t believe Brown should let up on this play, but his choice of positioning and decision to not move from Roszival’s path suggests he was prepared for contact with the knee. A safer hit would be to identify Roszival’s path and turn a hip into him rather than flailing his shoulder and having the primary site absorbing the hit above Roszival’s knee. It was a bad hitting decision

          • As for your comment on Quck missing a puck from the red line: those are the anomoly at the NHL level. Think about being one of the best 100 ppl oin the world at something you do daily. You still may make mistakes but for the most part you woud set your performance standards to a much higher level than the average person would at what you do. Matlock only lost two cases in his televised career because he has a high standard in the court room.

    • I don’t know if I would say it’s “clearly” late. If the whistle hadn’t have gone, then there would be no talk of late (i.e., the play itself was fine). But does the rulebook even say anything about measuring a hit from after the whistle? I mean, obviously there are other rules that say after the whistle goes you can’t just go around smacking people, but this is hardly that. Brown certainly isn’t listening for the whistle, and for reasons mentioned by Bourne, he shouldn’t be. It’s overtime in a potential series clincher. I really doubt I would call this late, regardless of how many “one-one thoudsands” you can count…

    • There’s no way you can get a one onethousand in there! I couldn’t watch the video on this site (the videos often don’t work on this site), but saw it on Puck Daddy and contact was almost the exact same time as the whistle. No way Brown had time to pull up.

    • ermm …. Check the score clock at the top of the screen shots. Less than a full second passes from when they cross the red line to when the hit was made.

  2. I don’t think Bob Cole, even with the benefit of a few replays, would be able to decipher what happened on that play.

    Guy has lost it.

    Good breakdown of a punishing hit by Brown. There is no chance Brown can let him go in that position. The play was still live, imagine if Brown holds up allowing Roszival to toe the blueline until his teammates can get onside again then the Yotes come in and score the winner. I would expect every player, especially the captain, to make that hit in overtime.

    I’m actually surprised that more people aren’t calling out Roszival for the dumb play. In addition to exposing himself to hit/injury, he unnecessarily caused his teammates to go offside on a crucial overtime rush. If anything put it deep and let your flying forwards chase the puck down. Last thing a non-slick skating dman should want to do in an elimination game overtime is make fancy moves at the blueline (before getting puck in) while sending two of his teammates deep. Even losing the puck (instead of getting blown up) could have resulted in a 4-on-2 or 3-on-2 the other way. It was a dumb dumb play by Roszival, one I’m sure even he would tell you he would have rather seen himself get destroyed on a hit than turn the puck over leave LA a golden scoring chance.

    • Yeah, typical CBC to keep a guy around way past his prime. Bob Cole was great in his day but his day was a decade past… at least.

      I agree with all your points. Brown has to make that play and Roszival made a very dumb play. Ironically in perhaps some ways he DID contribute to costing his team the game as the Coyotes never even came close to composing themselves afterward.

    • What blows me away is that on the Doan/Lewis boarding people like Milbury and Buttons (both terrible) were playing blame the victim for turning too late for Doan to try to even slow down. Both on the other hand think that somehow Brown would be able to do what Doan didn’t because of the magical powers of the whistle. The mind blowing inconsistency in the NHL and of it’s analysts is staggering.

  3. Totally agreed. We need to make sure Shane Doan sees this post before he goes to Brown’s house to murder him… with his lips.

  4. anyone else notice that Rosival only began writhing in pain after he looked up, and saw it was brownie who hit him?

    Pathetic attempt to discredit brown (and/or get him suspended), as they’ve done all series.

    • So Brown going down to a 105 lb soaking wet cross-check from Oliver Eckman-Larsson was fine? He’s got to expect that as a response when he plays the same way. I don’t condone either action as hockey can be played without incidents like this one.

      • did brown stay on the ice, and cry for 5 minutes after? no. he got up, like a man. he didnt try to sell it as an injury. he fell, and personally, i don’t believe either of the plays were “dives”. Brown was off balance, looked down for the puck, and got hit. it was a pretty weak penalty, i agree.
        rosival tried to make a stupid play on the blueline that hes not capable of, and got hit.

        my issue is with the obvious attempt to get a player suspended, not that he fell.

        also, show me where the kings whined and complained about that hit.

        • If you think brown did not dive you are an idiot. That guy dives 3-4 times a game and is a disgrace to hockey just like Crosby.

  5. Yes, what a punishing hit to the knee – if the guy can be on all fours, his knees don’t hurt. I’m not saying he wasnt hurt, that was a hard hit. But I’m sure Rozival tried to sell it a bit more after he realized it was Brown and tried to get his team on the power play.

  6. In frame 5, I’ve never seen anyone over the age of 8 skate like this. One skate is turned towards Roszival, the other is pointing at Mike Smith. Kind of awkward was of skating. I originally thought the hit was late but Bourne is correct as the whistle doesn’t blow until the puck crosses the line. My major issue has nothing to do with the lateness of the hit, just the intention of putting the knee in the lane.

    What makes it a stupid play is that Brown could have destroyed his own knee in the process.

    I actually think Doan and Hanzal accosting Brown was rich considering their own questionable hits. I saw a comment to this effect on twitter and tend to agree.

    If Bourne and I were on the jury for this hit we’d have a hung jury.

  7. Hard hit, could go either way, but I wouldn’t have called it a penalty.

    By the way, during the last, super-slo-mo clip of the hit, the way Rozival’s leg wiggles like a wet noodle makes me think he’ll be off the ice for a long time. Brutal.

  8. To me this is still kneeing, it just isn’t as blatant as other ones like in game 2. Not suspend-able due to precedent but should be fined at least to get him on record for an offense, same with Morris (game 2 kneeing incident). I can’t read minds so I have no idea his intentions, the penalty rule is for leading or extending to hit with the knee. To me it appears that he leads to make the hit with his knee and then pushes his elbow out as he collides (or just as momentum swings more incidentally). I seriously doubt he faked this, knee on knee hurts a lot in general to begin with they’re not always injuries but they can still sting a bit the next morning. Once again I dunno intention or what he was thinking but he looked over to see who hit him and then he looks hurt there’s nothing to suggest he’s faking injury

    • Your logic is astounding. No idea as to intention, doesn’t fit the the general definition of knee on knee hits…. BUT fine him simply to ‘get him on record for an offense’?

      This isn’t a witch hunt. The NHL is serving no one’s interests by punishing hard-hitters, or even those who seek the massive hit within the boundaries of the rules.

      No way on earth should Brown be given mark on his disciplinary history which may factor into future punishment for a hit that hit.

      This is classic case of incidental contact while in the course of making a hit. It is just shitty that it happened:

      1. in overtime
      2. so close to game winner
      3. player got hurt

      There is more blame to throw at Roszival’s then at Brown for this hit. I’m sure NHL coaches would cringe at the video replay session of this play.

  9. The more i watch this the less i think there was ANYTHING worthy of a penalty. Brown leading with shoulder. He doesn’t appear to kick his leg out either. It seems like Rosi notices way too late that Brown is coming and tries to avoid the check which would have been shoulder on chest, but cuts back inside and can’t get his lower body to follow suit.

    It’s unfortunate. A touch late relative to the whistle (although not really egregious in real time). That’s a play Brown makes 10 out of 10 times because the alternative is Rosi skating across the middle alone with a clear path to the net.

    It’s a shame he gets hurt here, but i just don’t see a penalty at all.

  10. Totally agree Justin. Who among us wouldnt have done the same thing? It was just a hockey hit and anyone who has ever played would have hit a guy coming across the blue line. Sorry Shane.(Doan)

  11. Your an idiot Bourne! It was kneeing. He stuck out his knee and blew this guys knee out. You sports reporters just kill me. Your all just nerds who couldn’t play the game and don’t have a clue about the sport your talking about but think your all experts! You suck!

    • *You’re

      I find it amusing that you call Bourne an idiot while making such a basic grammatical error 4 times. Who is the idiot here, exactly?

    • I’ll bet if you were ever on wheel of fortune, you’d lose on all the puzzles with apostrophes.

    • This is fantastic. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Steve, you do realize Bourne played professional hockey.. right?

      It also wouldn’t surprise me if ”Dad” was a person with 4 Stanley Cup rings either..

    • The commenter above you, Steve? He won four Stanley Cups. He led the playoffs in scoring in ’83. He’s in the Islanders Hall-of-Fame. He’s also my Dad. What a nerd who couldn’t hack it, huh? Let’s give him a wedgie!

      • And – not that you need me to update your father’s CV – he was also named SI’s Sportsman of the Year. (1988, I believe.) What a slacker.

    • Congrats Steve. You sure showed Justin “played Div I and AHL hockey” Bourne a thing or two about the game. And so eloquently!

    • “All just nerds that couldn’t play the game and don’t know anything about the sport…” Wow Steve, this is the most wrong I’ve seen a human be in a while. Do your homework on the guy (and his dad) you’re blasting before making such an ignorant comment that makes you look like the idiot!

  12. I fully support Bourne’s stance. There’s no way this is a late hit, and as the whistle blew pretty well at the point of contact, there’s no way Brown had time to let up — especially considering how long he had the hit locked in and lined up. Yes their knees hit, but so did their entire left sides.

    Here’s my breakdown: http://www.betonhockey.com/articles/dustin-brown-hit-heard-round-the-world/

  13. Another two points I’d like to make as I’m listening to yesterday’s BHS podcast (I’m always a day or two behind):

    1. I pretty much agree with Pizzo that had it been called a penalty, I would have been fine with it and since it wasn’t called, I am also fine with the refs decision. I would lean more towards the side that this was a penalty but I can understand why it wasn’t called.

    2. These are the types of plays I don’t like in the game. I’m not going to go into complete Adam Proteau-mode hear, although I do tend to agree with a few things he tweets, but getting “locked in” to this hit is what caused the knee in the first place. John Noon said that it was Roszival trying to get out of the way that caused the contact to be closer to knee on thigh than anything else. I just want to say that you need to look at the frames again. In frame 2, Roszival is turning and his destination/path is going to take him across the bottom of the “S” in the “Playoffs” insert in the ice. Frame 3 shows the same thing except he is now putting his weight on his right leg, which could be misinterpreted as an attempt to get out of the way. Instead, this is just Roszival skating. Frame 3 shows the primary contact being the legs with Brown sort of lunging with his upper body towards Roszival but not directed at the chest. Look at frame 3 closely. Brown’s leg goes into Roszival’s path, Roszival is STILL skating towards the bottom of the “S”. The more I look at the frame the more I see Brown putting his knee into a spot that would cause leg on leg contact. Again, look at Brown’s feet and then Roszival’s. Roszival doesn’t alter his path and his feet stay on that line towards the bottom of the “S”. I’m not saying Brown threw his knee towards Roszival, but I am saying that Brown decided on a path that would force Roszival to get out of the way of his knee or risk making leg on leg contact with Brown. The play happens because Roszival isn’t willing to change his path nor is Brown.

    • sadnwiches

      You are reading way too much into Brown’s actions then you need too. You argument sounds very much as if you have determined in your mind that Brown made a dirty hit and then watch the video to find evidence to support your assertion, rather than letting the evidence form your opinion.

      This has led to your primary problem being, in essence from what I can gather, that:

      “Brown turned to make a hit on Roszival and at that time positioned his leg (well before contact) in a spot where he assumed Roszival’s leg would be at the time of contact, did not deviate from that path so as to force Roszival to make a decision between having his leg blown up or dodging out of the way.”

      Think about that for a second. You acknowledge he didn’t throw his knee out (as many insane pundits said), but are more concerned that at full speed when turning to make a hit he intentionally locked his leg into a position where it was likely to contact Roszival’s leg.

      It was an unfortunate hockey hit. Had the refs called a penalty because the optics of the play I would understand, although I still don’t think it was a penalty. There is no way you can infer intent on Brown’s part.

  14. Couldn’t agree more, but especially with this

    “I don’t blame him for not letting him by in overtime of the West Final.”

    Yes, there most definitely IS a time and a place to blow a guy up and “a top pairing D is cutting laterally on a zone entrance in overtime of the WCFinals” is both the time and the place.

    A hit like this stands in stark contrast to Niklas Kronwall’s gutless, pointless and cowardly decision to charge some poor amateur Latvian in the offensive zone during an exhibition game last week.

  15. Meanwhile, all this debate and it was officially reported today that Rosival merely has a bruise on the Thigh. Knee on knee hit my ass.

    Doan and Hanzal were trying to latch onto any excuse available to cover up the fact the Kings out right beat them. Look at the overtime, how many shots did Phoenix have? I know they didn’t take their first shot until well over 10 minutes.

    • I expect Hanzal was legitimately angry about being suspended on a Brown dive. Which he should be, win or lose.

      • Brown Dive?!!?! He was lucky to only get one game after lining him up from the top of the circle at least, on that play. I’m not one who is big on suspensions (let them play, call penalties, work it out themselves..), but calling that a dive is ridiculous

        • Hanzal’s hit was bad on brown no question but the way brown moved on that play and did not continue behind the net it sure looked like he was trying to set up Hanzal by pulling up. Knowing brown’s history of diving better than a soccer player I could see him exaggerating on that hit as well.

  16. Doesn’t matter where Hanzal had him lined up from if the primary reason Brown went face first (well, hands first, but it looked like face-first at full speed) was a push from Brown’s left foot, which Hanzal didn’t touch.

    Barrett Jackman pulled the same thing on Matt Cooke this year. Only reason he didn’t draw a suspension (like Brown) is because (unlike Brown) he misjudged Cooke’s angle of approach and went face first into the boards at a 90` angle from the direction he was hit.

    That was a dive.

  17. u guys smell like trout go brown

  18. this was not a dirty hit

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