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.”