This past Wednesday, the NHL announced that they suspended Los Angeles Kings captain, Dustin Brown, two games for elbowing Jason Pominville of the Minnesota Wild in the head halfway through the second period. A penalty was not assessed. When the suspension was handed down, the Kings had two games remaining against the Detroit Red Wings, which they lost by a score of 3-1, and the San Jose Sharks, which they play on Saturday.
The Kings have already clinched a playoff berth and Brown will be eligible to return to the lineup by the first round and although he’s one of their more important players, this suspension does not effect having clinched a spot. Even though these last two games are crucial and could affect whether or not Los Angeles gains home-ice advantage, it could definitely be worse. Such as the case of Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Cooke in the 2010-11 season when he was handed a suspension for elbowing New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that included the remainder of the regular season as well as the first round of the playoffs games. Even though it may affect the team, it would definitely be more negative if Brown’s suspension included playoff games.
Perhaps with his return for the first playoff game, momentum will be on their side and they can carry that with them through the first round and farther.