May 15, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes right wing Shane Doan (19) walks to the locker room after game misconduct for boarding Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Lewis (not pictured) in the second period of game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal and Mike Smith all made some questionable plays in Game 2 between the Coyotes and Kings. Which of them deserve to sit for Game 3?
Those three plays might also define any chance the Coyotes have to get back into this series, one that appears lost after only two games.
Los Angeles won the game, 4-0, and exactly half of the goal damage was done thanks in large part to the Coyotes' lack of discipline. Trying to hit your way into a game isn't always going to work, and it backfired big-time on the hosts Tuesday.
Late in the second period, already short-handed, Phoenix captain Shane Doan was guilty of a boarding major on Kings forward Trevor Lewis. Seconds earlier, L.A. captain Dustin Brown had his stick broken on a slash by veteran Daymond Langkow. Already facing a two-man disadvantage, Phoenix' misery was extended when Doan was called for a major and ejected from the game.
(No, we're not here to argue the call on Langkow. It was a terrible one, especially given what Los Angeles got away with on the Coyotes' second power play, which was a lot.)
There are a lot of moving parts on this call. Lewis was bloodied and had to leave the game briefly. He was clearly hit from behind from a vulnerable spot and went hard into the boards.
However, Lewis also turned right before the contact. I thought Doan did try to limit the contact, but Lewis turned so late that it was going to be a lot to ask for Doan to do that. It was a hard hit, and by the letter of the law, it was probably called correctly.
Doesn't mean I like it. I don't like seeing players turn at the last second when they know a hit is coming. Lewis should be bracing for contact, not turning to face the boards, whether he's legitimately trying to play the puck or not. Yes, a hitting player has the onus to make sure he throws a clean, legal body check. But the player taking the hit has a responsibility, too. That responsibility is to not put himself in a vulnerable position when he knows a hit is coming.
That might not be something on-ice officials can account for when making a call without the benefit of replay, but it certainly is something the Department of Player Safety can look at.
Doan shouldn't be suspended for this hit, and I don't think he will be.
On the other hand, Martin Hanzal might not play again this season. In the third period, Hanzal provided the DPS with a great blueprint for what a flagrant boarding penalty looks like.
Pretty sure I don't need to go over this one very much.
Hanzal sees the "23" and "BROWN" on the back of the captain's jersey from at least the top of the faceoff circle all the way down to the point of impact. Unlike Doan, who hit a guy who turned at the last second, Hanzal had plenty of time to avoid or minimize this hit. Instead, he maxmized it, which strikes as "intent to injure" when you account for the time left (nine minutes), the score (3-0, L.A.), and the series situation (Kings have a stranglehold on it).
No excuses on this one, and I'd be shocked if Hanzal didn't get at least one game. He probably deserves two or three, which could very easily end his season with the way things are going.
Finally, we must discuss the antics of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. When he wasn't allowing knuckleball shots by Jeff Carter to go in with his team only down one goal, or bus-chucking his teammates after the game, he was trying to chop down an oak tree. Or perhaps Dustin Brown.
Hilariously, Brown was called for diving, along with Smith getting a slashing minor.
I don't know that this is a suspendable offense, especially for a goalie, but why not? It's a pretty blatant and hard shot directed at Brown's knee. It's also either a move borne out of frustration, or a move meant to send some sort of message.
Either way, it'd be nice to send the message to Smith that this kind of garbage has no place in the game.
Instead, what will probably happen is Hanzal will get a game or two, and no one else will get anything more than what penalties were called during the game.
If Doan plays in Game 3, he'll probably be asked to fight someone, and all will be well. Smith will keep playing, and I doubt we'll see a goalie fight during the series.
Then again, if they want ratings to go up for this seemingly non-competitive series ... (yes, I'm kidding.)