It seems like with every passing evening, there’s at least one hit that crosses a line with at least one NHL team. Sometimes those checks (or sucker punches) are egregious enough that the debate revolves around the severity of the penalty while other times it becomes a matter of rulebook semantics.
But if there’s one thing about Thursday’s questionable check du jour that makes it different from just about all the others, it’s that the opposing coach (kind of) thought it was a good thing. Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said that the team was “sleepwalking” through last night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs until Mike Brown’s blindside hit on defenseman Ed Jovanovski “revved them up.”
Jovanovski was reaching to play a puck when Brown clipped him on the chin with his shoulder, clearly making contact with the player’s head. (View video of the hit here.)
The hit changed the tone of the game between two teams who rarely meet each other. Dave Vest reports that the Coyotes said Jovanovski is day-to-day with a “lower body injury” (something Vest notes as … peculiar considering the local of the hit). The team will re-evaluate him today.
Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy notes that the NHL only decided to fine Nick Foligno $2,500 for a similar hit on Patrick Dwyer in October, so it’s far from an open-and-shut case. Not that, you know, any fine or suspension situation ever really is thanks to the Wheel of Justice.
Ultimately, it’s the league’s call, but what do you think? Should Brown face a suspension, just a fine or no discipline at all? Vote in the poll below to share your opinion.