Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings has a reputation for playing on the edge. The question is whether he actually played over it against the San Jose Sharks, in taking out rookie star Tomas Hertl in the first period.
As 18:59 of the first, Hertl swept the puck ahead and out of his own zone after a Kings offensive chance. Brown skated toward him, and his right leg connected with Hertl’s left leg.
Hertl hit the ice in pain, and would not return to the game. Brown was given a major for kneeing, which carries a game misconduct penalty.
Did he deserve it?
Look, there’s no question that Brown has found himself on the delivery side of several lower body collisions. There was a blatant knee on Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues last season. There was the thigh-on-thigh hit from Brown on Michal Rozsival in the 2012 playoffs; the Coyotes were outraged, but the NHL didn’t offer any supplemental discipline.
So understandably, Brown doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt here.
But look at the play. Does he lead with his knee? No. His weight is clearly on his left leg, which is his lead leg.
Did he extend his leg to make contact with Hertl? That’s a little debatable, but ultimately it appears he’s attempting to get away from the collision.
So it shouldn’t have been a major, nor a game misconduct, nor will it lead to a Shanaban.
But boy, Dustin Brown is just the John McClane of knee-on-knee hits, right? Nakatomi Plaza, Dulles Airport, New York, D.C., Russia ... wherever he goes, the terrorists are there.