Thursday’s Los Angeles-Minnesota season opener is the first time Dustin Brown will face the Wild since elbowing Jason Pominville last year — an incident that earned Brown a two game suspension and forced Pominville to miss two regular season and three playoff games with a concussion.
The Kings captain knows Minnesota might be looking for retribution.
“It all depends on how it plays out, it could go either way,” Brown told the L.A. Times. “I’m going there to play a game. If that’s part of it, that’s part of it.”
Wild forward Zenon Konopka said the hit still lingers.
“You have it in the back of your head. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t remember, but nothing’s more important than winning,” he told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “You get a chance to legally hit [Brown] clean, you’re going to throw that hit.”
Here’s the video of said elbow:
There was no penalty on the play, but the Wild were none too pleased with Brown following the contest.
What’s more, head coach Mike Yeo was further displeased following the club’s final preseason game, a loss to St. Louis in which Blues captain David Backes took a run at Pominville — with no response from Minnesota.
Yeo said he wants a “pack of wolves” mentality from his club when it comes to sticking up for each other.
“As long as the game’s existed, protecting each other and battling for each other is part of the game,” he explained.
So, let’s assume that the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will eventually play in the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field on Sunday.
Every indication is that Cam Talbot and Connor Hellebuyck shall get the nods for their respective teams. Most assume, with the firepower on hand, that this could be a high-scoring game.
Hellebuyck isn’t flustered about all the goals the Jets have allowed so far, as he told NHL.com.
“It’s not something you’re really worried about,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s early in the year, it happens to a lot of teams. If you look at the trends in the past 10 years, there’s always a lot of goals being scored at the beginning of the year.”
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.