Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal won’t play in tonight’s affair after being suspended for boarding Dustin Brown.
But if the Kings had their way, Hanzal would be missing more than just tonight.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Los Angeles is displeased with Brendan Shanahan’s decision to only suspend the Coyotes forward one game. Brown said he thought Hanzal “was going to get two,” while defenseman Willie Mitchell offered sharp critique of the NHL’s discipline czar.
“I’m not particularly happy about it,” Mitchell said. “You know, who am I, I’m just a player, but … this stuff evolves over time, it gets better over time. I’d like to see [the suspension be] a little bit more, not just because we’re playing the Phoenix Coyotes right now.
“I just think messages need to be sent and it needs to be a little bit stiffer because what if Dustin Brown breaks his neck on that incident, as he very easily could have?”
It’s not surprising that Mitchell went on the offensive. Since joining the Kings, he’s been outspoken with regards to concussions and player safety.
In October, Mitchell talked to PHT for a series looking at the issue and impact of concussions in the NHL.
Here’s what he had to say:
I missed eight months of hockey. Eight months of my life was gone, right? [That’s] the reality of it, eight months of your life is gone. You’re living in pain every day, you have a headache, headache is pain. Whether it’s small, medium, or large headache, it’s pain. You live with that.
It’s tough. You can’t do anything. You can’t read, you can’t drive your car — it hurts. Living in pain, it’s almost like, I always say, a snippet into a terminal illness so to speak. It gives you a little snippet, because not only [does it] physically bother you, but it’s the emotional aspect of it as well. You wake up every day and you don’t feel better and that can take its toll.
Stress in life, what does it do? It gives you a headache. Well, that’s one thing you’re trying to get away from is a headache.