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Coyotes' Martin Hanzal to sit out game for hit on Kings' Dustin Brown

NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan suspends Hanzal from play in Game 3 of playoff series for 'recklessly' driving Brown into the boards in Tuesday night's game.

May 16, 2012|By Lisa Dillman

The combination of Martin Hanzal's first offense in terms of NHL law and order and Dustin Brown's (apparent) lack of injury led league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan on Wednesday to suspend Hanzal one game.

Thus, the Coyotes forward will miss Game 3 of the Western Conference finals between the Kings and Coyotes on Thursday night at Staples Center. He received the supplementary discipline for his hit on the Kings' captainat 11:01 of the third period Tuesday, a five-minute major for boarding and automatic game misconduct.

In Shanahan's video explanation of the suspension, he stated that Hanzal "recklessly initiates the check from behind into the boards."

Two of Hanzal's teammates escaped supplementary discipline: captain Shane Doan and defenseman Derek Morris. Doan's hit on the Kings' Trevor Lewis resulted in a five-minute boarding major and automatic game misconduct, and Morris was assessed a two-minute penalty for kneeing Kings' defenseman Rob Scuderi.

Shanahan announced on his Twitter feed that the Doan and Morris incidents would not require supplemental discipline.

Doan, in fact, was still bothered by receiving the five-minute major.

"Obviously. Incredibly disappointed," he told reporters after the Coyotes' practice on Wednesday morning. "I can't believe it's a five-minute major. I know that the refs aren't trying to do that, but at the same time I was incredibly disappointed in the fact that was the call. But it is what it is."

The merits of the suspension have been hotly debated since the Kings took a 2-0 series lead with a 4-0 victory in Game 2.

Brown's agent, Scott Norton, was livid about the light suspension, tweeting: "This is a complete #joke! Lets wait for an NHL player to be paralyzed! Good job #Shanny ... "

Kings' center Jarret Stoll had thought that Hanzal would get a two-game suspension and considered the Doan hit to be a "hockey play."

"Hopefully, he knew that Brownie was in a vulnerable position," Stoll said. "If you are gonna finish a check, maybe you grab him and you ride him in and you close him that way on the boards. You don't shove him in the boards, especially when he's five, six feet from the boards."

The Kings did not practice Wednesday and Brown was not among the players made available at the team's El Segundo headquarters. He was at the facility, however, presumably getting acquainted with the usual ice bags. But his ability to get back up — quickly — after taking that kind of punishment continues to surprise his teammates.

"Yeah, I was a little shocked how quick he did get up from the way it looked," Stoll said. "It was a pretty dangerous play. Like I said, he was vulnerable.… Brownie's a tough guy. He'll be getting some work done on the old neck today, I'm sure. He'll be back and ready for Game 3."

Said Dustin Penner: "It's almost comical to watch because you think he runs on batteries sometimes. He keeps on going. You can knock him down, but you can't keep him down. He takes a lot of punishment because he gives it out. And he's been that type of leader all year, not just last game or the last series."


Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said forward Colin Fraser was still in Canada, attending to a family matter. Fraser left the team before Game 2 in Phoenix.

Taking Fraser's spot in the lineup was left wing Kyle Clifford, who had not played since Game 1 of the Vancouver series because of a concussion. He played seven minutes 10 seconds in Game 2 at Phoenix, and took a needless holding-the-stick penalty in the offensive zone.

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