Los Angeles Kings’ forward Dustin Brown delivered a huge hit on Coyotes’ defenseman Michal Rozsival 12 seconds before Dustin Penner won the game in OT, sending LA to the finals with a 4-3 victory. Coyotes players were extremely upset of the lack of a kneeing call. However, replays show that it was the entire left side of Dustin Brown making contact with the entire right side of Michal Rozsival. The left knee of Dustin Brown was not extended past the width of his shoulder. In other words, Brown did not stick his knee out to hit Rozsival. Brown stayed tight and delivered a solid hit on Rozsival that left Rozsival injured. Some complain about the hit being late, as it was after an offside whistle. Hockey is a fast-paced game, and both players were moving at a high rate of speed towards one another. There was no time for Dustin Brown to disengage from the hit.
Another problem I see in this play that really upsets me is the lack of awareness by defenseman Michal Rozsival. In a game where players are flying around the ice at high speeds, players absolutely must keep their heads up. However, Rozsival buried his head as he handled the puck and cut towards the center of the ice. Brown read the move, and delivered the hit on Rozsival. Had Rozsival had his head up, he would have easily seen Brown coming, thus would have been able to put himself in a better position to not be injured, if hit at all. The victims of violent hits must also be held accountable, regardless of injury and severity of the injury. It is unfortunate that Rozsival was hit, and I am not in any way questioning the toughness of Roszival, as he did try to get back on his skates on his own. However, he needs to know (and probably does) that his head must always be on a swivel, especially when cutting hard to the center of the ice.
Rule 50.1 states:
Kneeing is the act of a player leading with his knee and in some cases extending his leg outwards to make contact with his opponent. – Rule 50.1
Dustin Brown in no way led his body into Rozsival with his knee. Brown led with his shoulder, and the principal point of impact was the right shoulder of Rozsival. The knee to thigh impact was a side effect, if you will, of the positioning of both players relative to the other. Dustin Brown should not have been penalized for this hit, and wasn’t. Brown should also not receive any supplementary discipline in relation to this hit. Brown’s hit was a result of irresponsible positioning by Rozsival, and some bad luck in receiving the knee to his thigh. The injury suffered by Rozsival is unfortunate, and I wish him the very best in his recovery.
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