Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings has been suspended one game for kneeing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
The incident occurred with 5:33 remaining in the second period of Saturday’s game in Tampa. Brown was given a major for kneeing and a game misconduct by referees Francis Charron and Jean Hebert.
From the NHL Department of Player Safety:
“[Brown] extends his elbow and knee outward. Brown’s knee makes forceful and direct contact with the knee of Sergachev. This is kneeing.”
“Brown has sufficient time to attempt a legal full body hit or allow Sergachev to pass by him untouched. Instead, he extends his knee to ensure contact will be made in what is a dangerous and unnecessary fashion. “
The fact that Brown is a repeat offender likely figured in the league’s decision. Just three weeks ago he was fined $10,000 for cross-checking Justin Schultz of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was suspended two games in 2013 for an illegal elbow to the head of Minnesota’s Jason Pominville.
The league conceded that this was not an intentional attempt to injure, but advised that the onus is on the hitter to deliver a clean, legal body check.
Rule 50 covers 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.
The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the severity of the infraction, to a player guilty of kneeing an opponent. When a player has been assessed a major penalty for kneeing he shall also be assessed a Game Misconduct.
Player Safety has levied punishment on Brown in the past. He was suspended two games in 2013 for an illegal hit to the head. He was also fined $10,000 for a hit on Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz just three weeks ago. That recent decision likely factored into the league’s determination to suspend the Kings’ forward.
Brown forfeits $31,586.02 as a result of the suspension.