Oh Dustin Brown, are you trying to make me hate you more?
The Los Angeles Kings captain played a huge role in helping his team advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993 as they dispatched the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 5. But he also showed why he's considered a pretty reprehensible player by opposing fans who watch him repeatedly.
Without even getting into the diving issue (if you want to relive those laughs, see here), Brown laid out a classic kneeing hit in overtime on Phoenix's Michal Rozsival. He was not penalized on the play, but let me break down for you why all the arguments about this being a clean hit are wrong.
First, the rulebook definition of kneeing:
50.1 Kneeing - Kneeing is the act of a player leading with his knee and in some cases extending his leg outwards to make contact with his opponent.
Now, once you've watched Brown's hit, you might ask yourself, "Self, there's also shoulder contact in that hit, and his knee isn't ridiculously far from his body. Is that really kneeing?" Yes, because while the shoulders do bounce off each other, the momentum from the hit actually comes from the knee into Rozsival. You can tell that because of how they spin coming out of the contact. Rozsival just drops straight down because he didn't get spun (which would have happened if any momentum from the hit had come into his shoulder). His knee gave because that's where the momentum of the hit came through. If it was full-body or primarily shoulder, he would have spun because the impact would have been spread and not on a small joint that was not braced for that type of impact. Because Brown was properly braced for a knee hit, his knee stays stable and he spins. With no momentum coming from the upper-body contact, this cannot be considered a full-body hit with knee involvement. The other dead giveaway is Brown's stance. He is gliding with his legs set in a way where it looks like he should be turning to the left (i.e., left knee further from his body than his right) but is not turning anymore. That's a classic extended knee stance.
And since people keep bringing it up, kneeing is not limited to kneecap-on-kneecap contact. Using the knee to hit any part of a player's body, from thigh to hamstring to shinpad to elbow if you can pull it off, is kneeing.
Finally, kneeing can still happen with shoulder contact. We all agree that Bryan Marchment was a dirty, dirty player whose knee-on-knee hit on Joe Nieuwendyk cost the Stars a shot a much deeper playoff run in 1998, right? Well that's considered a classic knee now, but it was actually from behind with some very substantial body contact. But because Marchment's knee was extended and used to target Nieuwendyk's lower body, it is a classic kneeing. Also, this hit from Kevin Porter earned him four games despite the fact that the shoulders also clack.
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