NHL Playoffs 2012: Will Dustin Brown Be Suspended for His Hit on Rozsival?

Eric McKelvieSenior Writer IMay 23, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 22:  Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts alongside a referee after Brown checked Michal Rozsival #32 of the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime of Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Late in overtime of Game 5 between the Kings and Coyotes, Dustin Brown attempted to lay a hit on Michal Rozsival.

Instead of laying a clean body check, Brown caught Rozsival's knee, leaving him lying helplessly on the ice.

There was no penalty called on the play.

Moments later, the Kings gained the zone and Dustin Penner scored on a rebound to send the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup final.

Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal and other Coyotes’ players were furious there was no call and they let the referees know it. As the fans littered the ice with debris, the customary handshake line began. One would assume the Coyotes’ players had choice words for Brown as they shook his hand.

Brown was then presented with the Clarence Campbell Bowl, but refused to touch it. The question now is: Will Brendan Shanahan suspended Dustin Brown?

Since the Shea Weber incident, Shanahan and the NHL have been criticized for the way they’ve handled player discipline. Regardless of whether or not they suspended Brown, the NHL will likely be scrutinized for their decision.   

There will be those who argue Brown shouldn’t be suspended because he intended to lay a clean hit. They will point out that it wasn’t late, given Rozsival still had the puck. They will likely cite the fact that in addition to hitting Rozsival's knee, Brown also makes contact with his shoulder, which indicates he attempted a clean hit.

Others will determine that regardless of what his intent was, Brown should be suspended. They will argue that Brown could have avoided making contact with Rozsival's knee. They will likely cite the fact that Rozsival was injured on the play, which is often a determining factor in the NHL’s decision to suspend a player.

In a similar incident earlier in the series, the Coyotes’ Derek Morris was given a two-minute minor for kneeing Kings’ defenseman Rob Scuderi, but was not suspended.

If that play is any indication, Brown will not be suspended.

If there is one thing all hockey fans can agree on, it’s that Shanahan and the NHL have been anything but consistent with the way they’ve handled suspensions in the playoffs.

With the Stanley Cup final set to begin May 30, don’t expect a decision from Shanahan in the immediate future.