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Kings question ruling on visors against Jake Muzzin

KINGS FYI

NHL rule that adds an extra two-minute minor penalty for instigating with a visor is called archaic by Kings Coach Darryl Sutter.

March 15, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings Coach Darryl Sutter calls the extra two-minute minor penalty Jake Muzzin received for instigating with a visor an "old-fashioned, archaic, antique rule."
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter calls the extra two-minute minor penalty Jake… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Jake Muzzin had only an instant to react when he saw Kings teammate Colin Fraser get leveled by a check from San Jose's Andrew Desjardins in the second period Thursday.

The contact looked to be shoulder-to-shoulder and Fraser went down hard.

"I thought he was hurt, so I wanted to take action. It happened quick," said Muzzin, the Kings' rookie defenseman.

Luckily for the Kings, Fraser was fine. Unfortunately, for Muzzin, he was hit with a double minor for instigating, and instigating with a visor, in addition to the five-minute fighting major and 10-minute misconduct. The Sharks capitalized with two power-play goals, improving a 1-0 lead to 3-0 and eventually winning, 4-3.

"Should guys that wear visors get punished more? I don't think so," Fraser said Friday. "I wear a visor. I would have done the same thing for Jake if it was him that got him."

Under NHL rules, players who instigate a fight automatically get an extra two-minute minor penalty, plus a 10 minute-misconduct in addition to the five-minute fighting major. However, if a player who is wearing a visor starts a fight, he receives an additional two-minute penalty on the grounds that it is a dangerous play — an opponent could potentially injure himself by punching the visor.

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter addressed the issue and made a cogent point in noting that visor use is on the decided upswing.

"Yeah, I think it's an old-fashioned, archaic, antique rule," he said. "They need to make all these rule changes when they get bored and have these committees, right? But 16 players on our team wear visors and I'm going to assume 16 players on every team wear visors."

Fraser acknowledged the check from Desjardins was legal.

"It was a big hit," he said. "It was a clean hit. It kind of puts the onus on myself to know he's coming. I mean, if it was the other way around, I probably would have done the same thing. I'm a big boy. I can take a big hit. It didn't feel good. But I'm OK. I stayed in the game and I'm OK today."

The Kings were praising Muzzin for stepping up, not castigating him.

"I think it's great," Fraser said. "You've gotta have guys sticking up for teammates. It brings teams close together. [Mike] Richards has done it in the past. I think it's a tough rule. … He's just sticking up for a teammate and he gets punished for four minutes. It's unfair — in my opinion."

Said Muzzin, joking: "Maybe next time, I'll look around and see who my [teammates] are and let them fight. Because Cliffy [Kyle Clifford] and Noles [Jordan Nolan] are out there."

Sutter diplomacy

The Kings' White House visit is later this month — either March 26 or 27 — and Sutter was asked whether there was anything in particular he wanted to ask President Obama.

"I want to ask him about the pipeline," Sutter said. "It runs through the farm."

Sutter's ranch is in Viking, Canada, and he would like to see the much-in-the-news Keystone XL pipeline project implemented. The pipeline would extend from the oil sands in Canada to Texas.

KINGS VS. SAN JOSE

When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 1150.

Record vs. Sharks: 0-1.

Etc.: Defenseman-turned forward Brent Burns has three points in two games since making that move. His linemates? Logan Couture and Joe Thornton.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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