Game Day Watch, 1/19: Kings, Ducks, and Dustin Brown Somehow Didn’t Get Suspended
I’m sure you won’t hear anything about this tonight.
HOW TO WATCH
Game Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: KABC AM 790
Stream: NBC Sports (requires cable subscription)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
We’re ditching the usual format today because everyone — Kings fan, Ducks fan, or hockey fan in general — is talking about the same thing right now.
Dustin Brown is playing tonight, because the NHL’s Department of Player Safety determined that his cross-check, delivered to the back of Justin Schultz while the Penguins defenseman was on his knees facing the boards, was not worthy of the suspension. The folks in charge have apparently made videos in the past to explain reasoning for non-suspensions, though it’s not commonly done and usually sets up the Department to explain something that wasn’t totally innocent. Also, it’s Friday afternoon, and good luck getting that done on Friday afternoon. The best explanation I’ve seen so far, as put forth by Adam Gretz, is that Brown got off easier because his offense was a cross-check and not a boarding or “hit” from behind.
About a year ago I looked at incidents that rose to the level of player safety and what gets a suspension vs. a fine. Updated that table through this season. They seem to usually see stick fouls as a fine.— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) January 19, 2018
(Not saying I agree -- just pointing out trends) pic.twitter.com/QbZc949IHF
We probably wouldn’t be having this discussion if Brown had used his body to propel Schultz into the boards. Granted, the Jewels from the Crown folks that I’ve heard from all unanimously agreed that Brown deserved a suspension; it was stupid and dangerous, and even if Brown didn’t intend to injure Schultz, a game or two seems like the least NHL Player Safety could have done. If anything, they would have avoided the firestorm that has resulted from fans and media alike.
When I saw Dustin Brown x-check, I had two immediate thoughts: 1. I’ll be curious if DoPS sees it as rising to level of SD; 2. If DoPS chooses to not suspend Brown, given Cogliano ruling, the flak will go viral. And it has. Bottom line: Brown should have been suspended. 🙄— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 19, 2018
What does this have to do with the Ducks? Nothing! It’s a major topic of discussion, though. Mostly because Andrew Cogliano is back on the ice tonight, after serving a suspension which ended his streak at 830 consecutive games played. It’s not lost on any Ducks fans that Cogliano’s hit was on a Kings player, and they surely are comparing this Brown decision to Cogliano’s punishment. And steaming.
I think it’s pretty silly to turn around and argue that Brown deserved a ten-game suspension if you just got done arguing that Cogliano deserved nothing. I also think it’s silly to plaster “COGLIANO DESERVED BETTER” on a t-shirt as if he never hit a guy in the head to begin with. (He did.) It isn’t silly to be confused about how the Department of Player Safety makes decisions, though, and while they’re never going to be able to avoid controversy around tricky decisions, this just throws another log on the fire.
Anyway, tune in tonight as players probably punch each other in the head (legally), and please, no one do anything stupid.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
for the Kings: Dustin Brown.
for the Ducks: Andrew Cogliano.
- Pensburgh was not happy about Brown’s hit. [Pensburgh]
- Long Beach native Matt Nieto is having a breakout season in Colorado. [Mile High Hockey]
- The Senators are going from bad to worse. [Silver Seven Sens]/
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST NIGHT