Last week we saw Minnesota forward Antti Miettinen take a wicked hit from Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown while Miettinen was in a vulnerable position shooting the puck. Brown was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit for being an illegal blow to the head but was not suspended by the NHL for it. The league felt that his in-game punishment was enough and that no supplementary punishment was needed since replays showed that Brown didn’t end up hitting Miettinen directly in the head.
A funny thing happened since then as Miettinen has been out of the lineup with what was believed to be the flu but now may turn out to be a concussion. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune has the details.
Coach Todd Richards said this morning that it appears Antti Miettinen has a concussion stemming from Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown’s hit to Miettinen’s head Monday.
The Wild first thought he had an inner-ear infection. He had been complaining of a headache, but yesterday he showed up to the rink with vision problems. Now after being examined by the doctor, it’s believed he’s got symptoms of a concussion.
Now the question becomes: Was the league right in not suspending Brown from the hit? The NHL will now take heat from this because Brown was penalized in the game for the hit and the league had the opportunity to continue sending the message that these hits won’t be tolerated and begged off in this case because Brown was sat down mid-game for the hit.
Of course, by adding the head shot rule to the book and adding the ability to punish hits of this kind even if they aren’t handled during the game, the league brought about a lot of this attention on themselves. It’s all part of being in charge we suppose, but Wild coach Todd Richards isn’t amused by the situation at all and continued to call Brown’s hit a “dirty” one and that the league has to protect its players. As long as the league continues to pick and choose its moments as to which hits they want to punish, expect these kinds of things to continue to pop up as the season goes along. Of course, players could do their part and not hit each other in the head too, but that’s asking a lot of them for the time being.