Whether his hit was a “knee-to-knee” or “thigh-to-thigh” connection, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown won’t be a popular man in Phoenix for his controversial hit on Michal Rozsival. The Coyotes expressed hostility to the press and during the handshake line, but Rich Hammond caught up with Brown to get his perspective on what happened.
“I haven’t really seen a highlight of it,” Brown said. “Rozsival was cutting to the middle and I cut across and made contact. Obviously they thought it was kneeing. I felt I got him with my shoulder. My left side and his right side all made contact, from toe to shoulder.”
Mike Smith disagrees. So does Coyotes analyst Tyson Nash. PHT readers are debating the suspension-worthiness of that incident as we speak. Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury got into a heated debate over the hit after the game.
Knee-to-knee hits (or hits that kind of look like knee-to-knee hits) aren’t inherently predatory. Sometimes it’s a matter of bad luck. It seems like Brown is venturing that argument, but we’ll see if the NHL disagrees.
It might take a lot for the league to suspend a captain and high-scorer during the Stanley Cup finals, though.
(As for the handshake line awkwardness, Brown went the no comment route.)
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.