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Three controversial hits that made an impact on the Kings’ Cup run

Jun 12, 2012, 7:39 PM EST

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Rob Scuderi #7 of the Los Angeles Kings is down on the ice after being hit by Steve Bernier #18 of the New Jersey Devils (not pictured) for a five minute major boarding penaly during the first period of Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

The funny thing about compiling the biggest goals from the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup run was that I couldn’t help but feel like some pivotal hits were almost as important. If nothing else, those key moments will probably stick with the opposing teams and their fans for quite some time.

Now, it’s true that every bounce didn’t go the Kings’ way, whether those bounces involved lucky goals, missed whistles or injury issues. Still, it’s interesting to look back at how three different hits made an impact in three different series.

The Steve Bernier fiasco (Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils)

Well, you probably didn’t need help remembering this one, did you? If you somehow missed it (be ashamed), Steve Bernier’s hit from behind on Rob Scuderi forced the New Jersey Devils to kill a five-minute major. That went about as poorly as possible.

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Yes, the Kings provided plenty of evidence that they could have won the series anyway, but the Devils left the ice with a bitter taste in their mouths. (That “what could have been” feeling will probably form a pattern in this post, by the way.)

Dustin Brown‘s hit on Michal Rozsival (Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes)

Look, the Phoenix Coyotes faced some ridiculous odds if they expected to come back against the Kings. Sure, it seemed like they elevated their play later on, but it probably would have been a case of “too little, too late.” Still, Dustin Brown probably won’t ever get a warm welcome for his knee-to-knee (or thigh-to-thigh, depending upon whom you ask) hit on Michal Rozsival in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

The check – and perhaps a mistakenly missed penalty call – happened just moments before Dustin Penner booted the Coyotes out of the series in stunning fashion. It created an awkward handshake line scene and inspired a boisterous debate between Jeremy Roenick and Mike Milbury:

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Dwight King boards Alex Pietrangelo(Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues)

When Rob Scuderi suffered a boarding hit, Bernier received a five-minute major. Not every boarding hit is the same by any means, yet it’s interesting that Dwight King received just a minor penalty (and no further discipline) for boarding Blues star Alex Pietrangelo:

Just like those other key moments, it’s silly to say that a series was made or broken on a play like that. Still, it was significant for a few reasons:

  • The Blues were reeling after being down early in the first period of that game despite a thunderous start – the kind of one-sided play that the Kings didn’t encounter very often in this postseason.
  • Pietrangelo missed some time and clearly wasn’t himself. We can debate the talent disparity all day, but the bottom line is that he’s the Blues’ closest thing to Drew Doughty. It’s reasonable to assume that they might have at least managed to avoid being swept if their star defenseman wasn’t out and/or banged-up.
  • Perhaps most interesting in retrospect, King ended up experiencing a phenomenal playoff run. Imagine if a suspension might have gotten him in the “doghouse” or maybe put a damper on his momentum?

***

This is not to say that the wrong call was made in any of these cases (feel free to debate those topics in the comments). The main takeaway is that a deep playoff run requires skill and lucky bounces. When it came to some pivotal hits, the coin flips seemingly went the Kings’ way.

  1. xaf605 - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    NHL champs good job kings you worked hard you deserve it!

  2. swizzler16 - Jun 12, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Don’t forget Duncan Keith on Daniel Sedin. Any way you cut it, he did the Kings a favour.

    • comeonnowguys - Jun 13, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Seriously?

      Do you really think Daniel would have turned a near-sweep to a series win? He simply would be one more skater stuffed by Quick.

  3. Jennie Oemig - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    no matter the sport it’s always thrilling to watch a team win its first championship! http://98ontheblack.com/2012/06/12/kings-finally-get-their-holy-grail/

  4. oside760 - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    what about hanzal getting kicked from the game and suspended 1 game for his hit on brown? did that not make an impact for the kings?

  5. mickeyb21 - Jun 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    You could also argue that there were 3 hits that the Kings didn’t make that changed things in their favor as well.

    Duncan Keith on Daniel Sedin helped make that series start out easier than it might have been.

    Barrett Jackman on Jaro Halak eliminated that goalie tandem that had helped the Blues all year. Elliott hadn’t played more than 4 games in a row all year until the Kings series.

    Raffi Torres on Marian Hossa prevented a very physical player from being in the series to cause disturbance and the tiring out of some Kings players.

    While it wasn’t a specific hit that did it, but whatever happened to Kovy’s back also helped the Kings. he needed a few more days off before the finals to get treatment like he did in the Flyers series.

    LA did not win because of these hits/injuries/suspensions but they were the little things that worked in their favor helping them to a championship like every winning team needs.

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