The Los Angeles Kings' Game 1 victory over the St. Louis Blues produced what could be one of the most significant injuries of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues' top defenseman and arguably their MVP in the regular season, left the game after this hit from behind by Dwight King:
King was given a 2-minute boarding penalty at 18:47 of the second period, a call that Kay Whitmore of the NHL explained to the St. Louis Post Dispatch after the game:
"Their judgment of the degree of violence (went into the decision) … they deemed it a minor penalty and that's why they called it a minor. It's their judgement. They see the whole play unfold and they didn't deem in this instance obviously that King drove (Pietrangelo) into the boards. It was a hit, he was in a vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call a major."
Whitmore says there wasn't blood on Pietrangelo after the hit, a claim with which St. Louis Game Time disagreed. In the NHL's defense, Eric Furlatt and Stephen Walkom were the officials, and they've been inexcusably incompetent during this postseason ...
Will King be suspended for the hit? There's been no hearing scheduled yet.
Will Pietrangelo play in Game 2 on Monday night? That's the bigger question.
Alex Pietrangelo did not practice with the team today after leaving Saturday's 3-1 loss against Los Angeles with a head injury. Pietrangelo was evaluated for a possible concussion and did not return to the game. His status for Game 2 Monday is uncertain.
"He's day to day, upper body ... we'll see (Monday)," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. Read more:
Andy Strickland of True Hockey isn't optimistic that Petro will answer the bell for Game 2:
Sources say it's unlikely Pietrangelo will play Monday night although no official word has come from the team. Ken Hitchcock said Sunday morning he's "day to day" and cautioned the media not to rule him out of Game 2. The Blues have nothing to gain by ruling him out today.
Personally I don't expect him to play Monday but I won't speculate beyond Game 2. It appears he's dealing with concussion like symptoms and I would expect the Blues to hold him out for precautionary reasons if for nothing else. This kid is only 22 years-old and has his entire career ahead of him.
That's true … but without him, the Blues will be hard pressed to defeat the Kings, already down a game.