On Wednesday, Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi went on Sportsnet Radio’s Fan 590 and discussed the hot topic du jour — Kings captain Dustin Brown getting suspended two games for elbowing Minnesota’s Jason Pominville.
As we mentioned yesterday, the Kings are clearly not happy with the NHL Player Safety Department’s decision to suspend Brown for the remainder of the regular season.
Head coach Darryl Sutter said he was “disappointed” in the decision while Brown said he was “just bracing” himself for contact.
Yesterday, it was Lombardi’s turn (transcription courtesy Mayor’s Manor):
“You teach a player in that situation two things – you’re either proactive to the guy running you or you absorb the hit, come off the boards and explode. Those are his two options.
“If he stands there and just tries to take the hit, the physics tell you that this is when guys get killed going into the boards. So you have two responsibilities, absorb that hit and keep his eye on the puck, because you don’t want to let that puck go up to the point.
“That’s how guys get benched. And his bottom hand has to stay on the stick.
“[Peter] Forsberg made a living making this play. To me it’s not an elbow in the sense of throwing an elbow. The elbow is up, but he’s got to keep his bottom hand on the stick and keep the puck under control.”
In his explanatory video, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan classified Brown’s hit in a different manner.
“As Pominville arrives, Brown proactively tries to counter-hit him,” Shanahan explained. “Counter-hits occur often in hockey. They are usually used by players to protect themselves from impending checks, or to gain a tactical advantage.
“However, as Brown attempts this counter-hit, he extends his elbow directly into Pominville’s face, causing an injury.”
There seems to be a major discrepancy between how the Kings viewed the hit (self-protective counter-hit) and how the NHL viewed it (counter-hit, but an elbow to the head regardless).