Wednesday, May 16, 2012
West finals turn nasty in Game 2
By Pierre LeBrun
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Game 2 of the Western Conference finals turned a little nasty Tuesday night with a pair of boarding majors that luckily didn’t result in serious injury.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan got five minutes and the game for his hit from behind on Kings forward Trevor Lewis in the second period, while Coyotes center Martin Hanzal got a five-minute boarding major and was tossed for his hit on Kings winger Dustin Brown.
Of the two, Hanzal’s appears worse, at least in my eyes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan gave it a serious look. Rostislav Klesla of the Coyotes got a one-game suspension in the previous round for a hit from behind on Nashville’s Matt Halischuk.
Hanzal didn’t speak after the game but Brown certainly did.
"I chip it by [Derek] Morris; I see [Keith] Yandle coming for the puck,” the Kings captain said. "I know there’s a guy behind me, but I didn’t think he was going to hit me. Because he probably saw my numbers [on the back of his uniform] from the top of the faceoff circle. He was behind me the whole way. It wasn’t like I turned or anything. I was going to get the puck. I thought Yandle and I were going to have a puck battle, and then ... I mean, Hanzal’s a big boy."
Doan’s hit also looked dangerous, although you can at least argue that Lewis turned at the last moment.
"He turns ... he looks right at me,” Doan said. "I didn’t even look at him again; I was looking at the puck. I was trying to poke the puck free, and he turns away as I’m coming in."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had more of an issue with Hanzal’s hit than Doan’s.
“Think Doan’s hit on Lewy, Lewy is turning back,” the coach said. “It’s probably more of a hockey play, eh? It’s a tough one. I didn’t really have a big problem with that.
“But the one on Browny, it’s hard to say from the bench. I didn’t look at it. But I don’t think the puck was even close, was it? That’s about it."
The game also featured a slash from Coyotes goalie Mike Smith to the back of Brown’s leg. And there was the kneeing penalty to Coyotes blueliner Derek Morris on Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi.
Pacific Division rivals, right?
“I’ve probably been involved in dirtier games, but I think the intensity out there and the fact that we’re in the Western Conference finals, there were some hits out there that weren’t good, but it’s one of those things where guys are playing hard, and like I said, we capitalized on opportunities we had," Brown said.
The two boarding majors were dangerous, but Scuderi didn’t see that as anything more than it was.
“They may not be the norm, but it’s not as if they were a dirty team during the season or any of those guys are dirty players throughout the history of their careers,” Scuderi said. "So, we’re not here to worry about it, we came to get the game, we got it. Fortunately, for all the guys that were on the receiving end of those hits, they’re all fine, and we can move on and go to Los Angeles.”