Los Angeles Kings Captain Dustin Brown attempted to avoid a collision at the last moment before his rear leg made contact with the right knee of San Jose Sharks 20-year-old forward Tomas Hertl on December 19 at STAPLES Center.
At the time no injury was announced but Brown got a game misconduct and five minute major for kneeing. Kings coach Darryl Sutter alongside fans did not agree, stating it wasn’t an appropriate call.
Brown told Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com about the collision the following day, December 20:
“Like I said, I can understand if my knee changed positions, if my leg changed positions, if I was leaning into him. But, in my opinion, the video clearly shows me trying to avoid collision. My leg is just as much at risk as his leg in a collision like that. If I have weight on my right leg, and then I’m sturdy on that leg and leaning in this way, maybe it’s different. Like I said, I’m just as much at risk in that play as he is.”
He added about whether the game misconduct was a right or wrong call. “I think it’s wrong. I understand why they call it. It happens really fast. The refs don’t have the benefit of watching a replay, but I think the replay clearly shows me trying to avoid. It’s one of those where we’re kind of on the same tracks and deciding which way to go. I mean, it happens quick on the ice, but the replay shows I’m trying to get out of the way.”
Brown spent the remainder of the game exercising and rethinking what happened in the collision as he got to see the replay.
Later, after Brown’s interview, on December 23 it was announced that Hertl was going into surgery for his right knee and that the surgery should take place within the next five days. It was alos announced that he will be out longer than a month.
Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com reported that Sharks general manager Dough Wilson expressed his dismay on the Kings response to the injury.
“Having played in this league a long time…when I was a rookie, I was tripped into a net in Hartford by the great Gordie Howe, and injured and carried off the ice,” Wilson said. “He came in between periods all the way around the rink to make sure I was OK. So, my response to the lack of, maybe, concern towards our player, is disappointing.”
“It’s the game of hockey. You play a playoff series, you play hard, guys battle, they fight, people get dinged up. At the end of the series, what do people do? They shake hands. As I said, all I know is Gordie Howe, one of the toughest, most physical guys that ever played, found time to come in and check on me. It’s a part of the game that I think makes our game the game that it is."
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