The Phoenix Coyotes are in trouble. After Shane Doan drove Trevor Lewis into the boards with an ugly hit, the team was already facing the possibility of playing a must-win Game 3 in Los Angeles without their captain.
At least things couldn't get any worse, someone must have said, thereby cursing the team and guaranteeing that things could get worse. Because now they'll have to worry about playing Game 3 without Martin Hanzal as well, after the big winger put himself on Sheriff Shanahan's radar with an even uglier hit from behind on Dustin Brown.
This is an inexcusable check, as Hanzal shoves Brown into the end boards with significant force, driving the LA captain's head into the wall.
It's a hit Shanahan has been particularly unkind to this season. With the player already traveling in that direction with significant speed, shoving him is a recipe for disaster and a Shanaban. Hanzal was given a 5-minute major penalty for the hit; I suspect he'll get one game more.
One wonders if the "star clause" will come into effect here. Arguably, both Doan and Hanzal committed suspendable offences, but Hanzal isn't a star and Doan is. Furthermore, Hanzal hit a star -- the frontrunner for playoff MVP at that -- and Doan hit some guy named Trevor Lewis.
The game got more than a little heated in the third period, so it's clear that, if Shanahan doesn't intervene in some way here, Game 3 could get silly. Hanzal may have just made himself the sacrificial lamb.