Minnesota Wild v Calgary Flames

UPDATE: 


That’s from a Los Angeles Times writer. More on this when the League’s Shanaban video posts.

***

I’m allowed to use “Gordie Howe” as a verb, yes? Yes. Okay.

Dustin Brown has a hearing with the NHL today over his reverse hit on Jason Pominville (affectionately referred to by Ms. Conduct as “Pomerdoodle”), and so he probably should. Let’s take a look and break it down.

First and foremost, I have to mention the commentary on this. Has anyone (who doesn’t regularly listen to Kings’ broadcasts) heard of the term “cold shoulder” used to describe a reverse hit (which granted, could use a name)? New one to me. And kind of a funny one when describing this play, but we’ll get to that. Still, that was some real limber yoga to avoid saying “Brown elbowed Pominville.”

More context from me on this: I love reverse hits. There’s no reason why having the puck should exclude you from being the guy to deliver the pain when you see someone coming.

The facts:

The Kings win the draw back. Matt Greene, the defenseman back on the puck, starts the set play by wrapping it around to the far boards where Dustin Brown waits for it. He knows he’s going to be first to touch the puck. His job is to clear the zone, and if he can’t because of pressure, eat it and work it up the wall. He sees pressure coming. Pominville is first on him. He’s in on Brown, and his intention is to reach with one hand around Brown, and poke the puck past him and up to his d-man, so the Wild can gain possession (that may be straying from straight facts, but I’m very confident that that’s the case). Brown waits with the puck for a split second, then pushes into the reverse hit. He clearly strikes the head of Pominville with his elbow with a good amount of force. Pominville’s head, like Brown’s elbow, was fairly low.

My opinion:

I think Dustin Brown is awfully difficult to play, and he takes pride in embracing physical challenges when they arrive. He definitely meant to lay out Pominville, maintain possession of the puck, and make a play from there. He definitely hit him in the head with an elbow, and seemed to mean to. As I mentioned, it’s not like his elbow is up over his head, like he’s brandishing it as a weapon. But he’s definitely putting more into the hit than shoulder. Pominville happens to catch it right on the button because of the baby-reach he makes, and it’s lights out from there.

Dustin Brown has never been suspended before (which is something in itself), but he will be here.

That said, Brendan Shanahan’s video on “defensive contact to the head” says that some of these videos don’t end in suspensions because they’re “protective or defensive in nature,” but that if a pattern emerges, players can get some games. I think we’ve reached that point with Brown.

I say he gets 1-2 games, most likely the latter. He got Pomerdoodle pretty square.

Your opinion:

In the comments, we’d love to hear if you think this was a malicious play, a hockey play, or something totally different. The caveat: as always with “Court of Public Opinion” posts, you have to honestly list your favourite team (I have no dog in the fight as an Isles guy). That doesn’t mean if you’re a Wild fan and you think it was vicious and terrible that your opinion will be immediately discounted. I just think it helps with context.