GLENDALE -- Kings captain Dustin Brown's controversial hit of Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival -- just seconds before Game 5 ended -- will be one of the touchstone moments of this Western Conference Finals.
Brown caught Rozsival at the LA blue line with a body check that left Rozsival unable to continue. After lying on the ice for several minutes, he was helped to the dressing room.
|Dustin Brown |
No penalty was called on the play, but the Coyotes believed the hit was both late -- delivered after a whistle for offsides -- and dangerous because of what they believed to be knee-on-knee contact initiated by Brown.
"I haven’t really seen a highlight of it," Brown said minutes after Dustin Penner scored at 17:42 of overtime to give the Kings a 4-3 win and guarantee them a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. "Rozsival is cutting to the middle, and I cut across and made contact. Obviously, they thought it was kneeing. It happened at high (speed), but I thought I got him with my shoulder, or my whole left side made contact with his right side -- from toe to shoulder."
The Coyotes were irate about the lack of a call and never seemed to get refocused.
Penner's goal, a rebound of a shot by Jeff Carter, came just 12 seconds after Rozsival was helped off the ice. The Kings won the faceoff at their own blue line and Slava Voynov played the puck off the boards. It hopped over the stick of Keith Yandle and was claimed by Penner; he passed to Carter, who got off a testing shot. Phoenix goalie Mike Smith made one of his 47 saves but left a rebound in the slot for Penner, who shoveled it home for the biggest goal of his career.
|Photo by Getty Images. |
Yandle admitted that the Coyotes never settled down after the perceived injustice.
"We have to take some of the blame," Yandle said. "We didn't settle down and just keep playing. It's something where we could have just settled down and kept on playing."
Instead their season ended.
After it was over, both captain Shane Doan and Smith confronted the officials, complaining bitterly about the non-call. Each was given a game misconduct for their protestations.
"It is an emotional game out there," Brown said. "You give them the benefit of the doubt. Their season just ended and they’re upset and emotions can boil over."
Phoenix's emotions continued to boil over into the handshake line. Both Martin Hanzal and Doan had some pointed words for Brown as he navigated his way through the line.
Again, Brown took the high road.
"I’m not really going to comment on it," he said.
Author: Shawn P. Roarke | NHL.com Senior Managing Editor