Incensed by the knee-on-knee hit that resulted in an injury expected to sideline him for at least the next two months, Jason Allison expressed outrage Sunday that the player who delivered the blow went unpunished by the NHL.
The King scoring leader suffered a torn medial collateral ligament and sprained anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Tuesday night when he collided with onrushing defenseman Andy Sutton of the Atlanta Thrashers, who appeared to stick his right leg out as Allison attempted to maneuver around him.
Though he does not believe that Sutton intended to injure him, Allison characterized the defender's actions as "dangerous" and "reckless."
When Sutton was not suspended, Allison couldn't believe it.
"I was very surprised," he said from his Manhattan Beach home, where he has begun minor rehabilitation since returning home Wednesday. "I thought that was one of the things we were trying to crack down on in the league.
"I mean, what kind of message is that sending to the rest of the league when they don't suspend a guy for a hit like that, whether it's an accident or not? That's saying, 'Hey, you can step up and have your knees out and clip a guy.'
"Basically, that's what happened."
Watching replays of the hit has only served to further irk Allison. "I was very angry, definitely, especially knowing that I can't be part of my team for that long," he said. "I don't think there's room in our game for plays like that. I know he didn't get suspended for it, but it was definitely a dangerous play. It's something that should be looked at by the league, hits like those."
Allison, 27, was carrying the puck up the right side in open ice at Philips Arena when he and Sutton violently collided near the red line.
"I thought I was by him," Allison said. "He kind of spread his legs out. He maybe realized he was going to get beat inside. Again, I don't think he intentionally tried to take my knee out; it was just one of those plays.
"But we were on the power play and they had two men caught deep and if I get by him, it's a three-on-one [breakaway for the Kings]. He tried to step up and realized he was probably beat. I think he was trying for a big hit and I kind of saw him early enough to get out of the way....
"But if he has his knee out, there's nowhere I can go [to avoid it].... Stuff happens in a game, but I just think it was kind of a reckless play by him."
Back in the trainer's room, Allison said he feared the worst: that his season had ended in the first period of an October win over the Thrashers.
"From what the doctor was saying, I figured that was the probable scenario," he said. "I knew it wasn't for sure, but I figured that was it....
"I was very, very upset and disappointed. Upset at the hit and disappointed about not being able to stay in the lineup."
An MRI exam taken Wednesday in Culver City, however, revealed that Allison had not suffered a torn ACL, as was initially feared, and would not need surgery. Through rest and rehabilitation, the injury will heal itself. Still, he'll probably be on crutches for another week. He could be sidelined for half the season. "I'll still be out for a long time," Allison said he told himself, "but I've got to take the positive. I'll be back."
As for when, he's not sure. Best guess: Two to three months.
"I don't think there's a target date," he said, "but I've always been the kind of guy that will push it to get back as soon as I can. I don't want to miss any more games than I have to.
"It's a pretty vague injury [as to] when you get back. It's not going to be healed for 12 weeks, but you can usually play a little earlier than that with a brace."