The Phoenix Coyotes have had a rough go of things in this series after having put together a pair of very successful series in these Stanley Cup Playoffs. The past two games have seen some of the luster fall off of their surprising postseason run, with the Los Angeles Kings jumping out to a convincing 2-0 lead in the series, with both wins coming on the road.
Tuesday’s tilt between the two clubs was not only a disaster on the scoreboard for the Coyotes, but it was a game that saw any discipline from the team disappear completely. Three players received game misconducts and another likely deserved one. While the Kings were able to focus on the win and Jeff Carter‘s hat trick, the Coyotes are left wondering if they’ll have a full roster for Game 3.
Doan was the first to be tossed, after a boarding call that earned him a five minute major. Doan hit Trevor Lewis from behind, into the boards, a hit which forced Lewis into the locker room, though he’d return. The hit could certainly be called a penalty, but Lewis also put himself into a vulnerable position, which is likely to work in Doan’s favor. The onus is also on the player taking the hit to keep themselves out of that vulnerable position, which Lewis did when he turned his back to the boards, allowing Doan to come in and board him.
This is a case where Doan’s history could work against him. If he receives any discipline at all, it could be because the league takes that history into account. However, given that Lewis put himself into the position, which helped to result in the hit, I don’t see a suspension coming for Doan.
Things get a little more cloudy with Mike Smith and Martin Hanzal, with both having taken penalties for hits on Kings captain Dustin Brown.
With Brown in front of the Phoenix net, Smith took his stick and slashed Brown to the back of the legs with a hit that could only be compared to chopping down a tree. Somehow, Brown was called for diving, though Smith did get a slashing call as well. As brutal as this hit was, I doubt any type of suspension comes for the Coyotes netminder, except perhaps a fine.
Of the three, Hanzal could be the one absent from action for the next couple of games. With Hanzal and Brown chasing down a puck in the end boards, the big Coyotes forward drove Brown, face first, into the boards, not slowing down at all. Unlike the case of Doan, where he didn’t have time to react to Lewis turning around at the last second, Hanzal’s hit clearly had intent, something the NHL takes into account when discussing discipline as much as it does history. I don’t think there’s any way Hanzal avoids a suspension, which could end up ending his season.
Luckily for the three Coyotes, and for LA, no Kings were injured on any of these plays, which should limit anything they get, perhaps with the exception of Hanzal. I don’t see Doan or Smith getting anything as far as missed games, though I could certainly see a fine coming for Smith.
Worrying about discipline is the last thing the Coyotes needed, with their backs already against the wall after two games. Things have to turn around for the Coyotes, and fast, if they hope to make a series of this, against a Kings team that is on a mission.
You can see video of the Hanzal hit below. He is the only one with a hearing scheduled.