Late in the second period of Phoenix's 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, things started to get chippy. The Coyotes held a 1-0 lead at the time, but they woke up after this Mike Brown(notes) blindside hit on Ed Jovanovski(notes):
Phoenix would score four times in the third period en route to the win.
Brown, meanwhile, defended himself.
"I think he was just saying there was no reason to be hitting him there,” said Brown. “It’s the game of hockey. I play that style of game. Obviously, I don’t mean to hurt anyone, or make any bad hit - elbow or shoulder. It was just in the heat of the moment, I went for the hit and just tried to go in with my shoulder."
"I think the refs made a good call. They obviously didn’t call it for a reason. I didn’t think it was a bad hit. I was just going in with my shoulder like I normally would. I don’t know what I hit on him. I think I just got him in a bad spot."
Jovanovski did not return for the third period and the Coyotes said that he was day-to-day with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated on Friday.
While some might be quick with suspension talk for Brown, his hit on Jovanovski looks somewhat similar to the one Nick Foligno laid on Patrick Dwyer in October, resulting in only a $2,500 fine for the Ottawa forward.
Colin Campbell's reasoning at the time was that he believed Foligno delivered the hit in an attempt to get the puck.
In this case, Brown wasn't trying to intercept the puck, instead he was attempting to cut off Jovanovski as he went to clear the puck from the area close to the Phoenix net. Jovanovski's head was the principle point of contact on Brown's hit, but now we'll have to wait to find out how Campbell saw it through his eyes.
So is this an automatic blindside hit suspension for Brown or a Foligno-like fine?