Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown was suspended two games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his second period hit on Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville on Tuesday night, as first reported in a tweet by the LA Times’ Lisa Dillman.
It was the first suspension assessed to Brown in the forward’s 641-game NHL career and the first suspension assessed to a Los Angeles player since Jarret Stoll received a one-game ban for a hit on San Jose’s Ian White during the Kings-Sharks playoff series in April, 2011.
Brown’s streak of 314 consecutive games played, which was closing on Anze Kopitar’s club record of 330 consecutive games, has come to an end.
After viewing the hit multiple times and sifting through commentary on Los Angeles’ broadcast, Minnesota’s broadcast and elsewhere, I thought a one-game suspension would have been appropriate. Though Brown did appear to get his elbow up to brace himself from pressure – and Pominville approached with knees bent, practically in a crouch – the elbow did recklessly impact Pominville squarely in the face and caused a head injury, a type of injury the NHL will err on the side of caution to protect players from.
With Brown unavailable, it is likely that Tyler Toffoli will be inserted into the lineup in a top-six role for the remaining two games of the regular season.
I’ll post the Department of Player Safety once it becomes available and share my reaction.