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.
After the jump, more on Sheldon Souray and other free agents, reaction from the Kings and Coyotes game, including a very cranky Mike Smith, and epic playoff beards.
- Sheldon Souray and his unrestricted free agency was the most popular topic in Stars-world over the past two days, and Bob Sturm touches on his status and other player personnel questions in his quasi-regular column. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- The first truly local boy and most appropriate name in the Dallas system, Austin Smith definitely had one heck of a year. [ESPN Dallas]
- John Klingberg did the Stars a favor by growing two inches immediately after he was drafted, and he's continued to come along as he works his way into solid defenseman prospect status. [DallasStars.com]
- And speaking of prospects, our friends over at Hundred Degree Hockey take us through the players who have already left for Europe and others who might head that way. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- A look at potential draft target Mikhail Grigorenko, who would amuse me because for some reason his name makes me think of figure skating. [SB Nation]
- I don't know much about Pucking Thoughts or Adam Bernard, but he gives a pretty solid look at the Stars and how they might fit into this season's free agent fun. [NHL Trade Report]
- You want a Stars vanity license plate? Sure you do. You just have to make sure the DMV approves it first. [NBCDFW.com]
- The Detroit Red Wings are looking to replace Joe Louis Arena, and rightfully so, and they are turning to some of the people involved in the design of the American Airlines Center to help them. [DetroitHockey.net]
- I would never accuse Mike Smith of being understated, and he certainly didn't hold back his feelings after the Coyotes loss. I didn't see this full game, but I saw at least one pretty obvious missed high stick on LA. Those of you who watched it in full probably have a better idea of if he's right or if he's just angry. [Puck Daddy]
- I tried, but I just can't improve on this headline. Radko Gudas has a better playoff beard than you. [Backhand Shelf]
- Bob Gainey recently jumped on NHL Live for a quick chat about his new role with the Stars.