As expected, the NHL has scheduled a telephone disciplinary hearing Wednesday for Phoenix Coyotes’ forward Martin Hanzal with discipline chief Brendan Shanahan. Hanzal is on the carpet for delivering an illegal hit from behind to the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown at the 11:01 mark of the third period of Tuesday night’s game, a 4-0 Kings’ win. On the play, Hanzal received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct, the second of the night for the Coyotes, for taking out the vulnerable Brown while he was not in a position to defend himself.
Earlier, the Coyotes’ Shane Doan knocked the Kings’ Trevor Lewis, face-first, into the boards and was expelled from the game as a result. L.A. was already leading 2-0 at the time; the Kings’ slumbering power play came to life and scored on both ends of the five-on-three manpower advantages caused by the penalties.
And while both coaches, the Coyotes’ Dave Tippett and the Kings’ Darryl Sutter thought that Doan was making a hockey play on the hit on Lewis - which likely means he will escape further discipline - it is almost certain that Hanzal will be suspended. The only question: How hard does Shanahan want to throw the book at him for what was clearly a dangerous hit on a player in a vulnerable position?
The belief is that Hanzal could get more than a game, and if he does, it will leave the Coyotes shorthanded at their most vulnerable position, centre. Hanzal is effectively their No. 2 centre, although he’s missed time previously in the playoffs because of injury.
The Coyotes were scheduled to practice here this morning, before leaving for L.A. The Kings, meanwhile, chartered home immediately after the game and had a practice scheduled in El Segundo, Calif. later in the day. Shanahan’s ruling is expected either later today or early tomorrow. Game 4 goes Thursday night at the Staples Centre.