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One, Two, Three Seeds, You’re Done!


Apologies are due once again. Technical difficulties prevented me from posting this yesterday.

 

The L.A. Kings will await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Rangers and Devils after a hard fought Game Five victory Tuesday night in Phoenix. The Kings earned their first Stanley Cup Finals bid in 19 years in a thrilling game that ended 17:42 into OT on a Dustin Penner goal that squeezed between Coyotes Goalie Mike Smiths pads. The Kings maintained their road perfection and closed out the Western Conference Finals series 4-1

The Kings began the game looking almost as lethargic as they did at home Sunday in Game 4 where they were thoroughly worked over by a desperate Coyotes team. The first half of the 1st period of Game 5 was a carbon copy with the Coyotes fast skating, hard checking forecheck in full effect. As the game progressed, the Kings found their rhythm and their own forecheck which had featured prominently in Games 1 through 3. The Coyotes and Kings traded hits, shots and goals that culminated in a tense 3-3 tie to end regulation.

Overtime became a back and forth, north/south affair as each side traded time of possession and shot efforts to no avail. At around the midpoint of the overtime period, I noted to my wife that it looked like two things were going on: One, both sides were getting tired as the tempo of the game began to slow appreciably. Two, the up the ice, down the ice action reminded me of watching 4 and 5 year olds playing “beehive” soccer – This is the kind of soccer where 20 kids (goalies included) are all swarming around the ball as it goes up and down the pitch and there’s no real structure to the match.

As the overtime period wound down and emotions started to rev up, the tempo started to pick up again and really went next level on a play that I’ll just call “The Hit”. With 2:30 left to play in OT, the Coyotes were attempting to move the puck into the Kings zone when a quick offside whistle was blown. A fraction of a second after the whistle, Kings Captain Dustin Brown collided with Michal Rozsival, sending Rozsival spinning down to the ice awkwardly, where he remained for a few minutes until assisted off the ice by Coyotes staff. Jobing.com arena showered Brown with their distaste for the shot and the officiating crew who did not call a penalty on the play.

After viewing replays for the three or four minutes Rozsival was down, both at regular speed and slow-mo (not to mention the 400 times it was replayed during the post game show), any claims of a designed knee to knee contact appear to be unwarranted in my opinion as Brown hit Rozsival with his entire body. As to the late hit controversy, Brown was already at full speed and was maybe a few feet from contact when the whistle blew. “The Hit” will be and already has been discussed as nauseum since it occurred. As far as I’m concerned, if the league deems it reviewable and punishable, then so be it. It doesn’t help the Phoenix fans ego also that less than 15 seconds after play resumed that the Kings won.

As of this writing at 8:30am PDT on Thursday, no word from the league office on whether “The Hit” will make an impact suspension-wise for the Kings Captain but this writer feels there’s nothing to review or penalize.

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