Tuesday’s game between the Kings and Coyotes went distinctly off the rails in overtime. It’s a byproduct of the high stakes and intensity and speed. Guys lose their tempers and it boils over after the whistle. We see scrums and jabs and slashes all the time and think much of it, but occasionally there’s a full speed hockey play that raises eyebrows.

In overtime, one whistle before Dustin Penner’s game winning goal, Dustin Brown caught Michal Rozsival coming across the blueline and made knee-on-knee contact. There was no penalty on the play despite the hit coming after an offside whistle being blown and Rozsival being carried off the ice.

Here’s the hit.

The obvious issues are as follows according to Bob McKenzie:

1. Should it have been a penalty?
2. If so, what penalty?
3. Is it suspendable?

Now, given that this was such a close call play, I’m inclined to say that this shouldn’t have been a penalty. At this speed it’s impossible to conclusively argue that there was intent on the behalf of Brown or that he could have avoided the knee-on-knee contact. Given an, online at least, apparent consensus that punishment shouldn’t be dependent on injury we shouldn’t take into account the fact that Rozsival appeared to sustain an injury. The whistle appears to be blown late — roughly a second before contact by my watch — and it’s hard to fault Brown for not avoiding contact in such a short time span.

Three observations at the moment of impact…

Photo Credit: ME

Black arrow: Brown sticks the arm out, meaning he wants to square up Rozsival and make contact with him. However, the arm also seems to detract from the argument that Brown wants to make contact by the knee. This isn’t a Bryan Marchment caliber assault, it’s just a byproduct of the contact he wanted to make with the body when they were further away.

Red arrow: Rozsival cuts up ice at the last second which leaves the knee of Brown as a point of contact instead of the body shot which is what Brown had initially lined up. The unfortunate byproduct of this is also that the inside of Rozsival’s knee becomes a primary point of contact which makes it more prone to severe damage.

Blue arrow: Part of the reason the hit is so devastating is that Rozsival brings the puck up ice and puts his head down coming across the blueline. When he looks back up, Antoine Vermette is blocking his view of Brown and the Kings captain doesn’t re-enter his vision — periphery at that — until the hit occurs. He had no idea it was coming and his move up ice only made the hit more severe.

In sum, a lot of things were at play here. I’ve thrown a lot at you so I’ll cut it off there and open the floor to you.

Do you think Dustin Brown should be suspended for this hit?