Dustin Brown is no stranger to controversial hits.
The 33-year-old King has for years been known as one of the NHL’s hardest hitters and often toes the line when he delivers them. Though Brown has only been suspended once in his career — a three-game sitdown in 2013 after elbowing Jason Pominville — he’s maligned by rival fan bases who would put him at or near the top of their lists of the dirtiest players in the NHL.
But while he plays with this edge, Brown’s career high for penalty minutes is only 80, which he posted all the way back in 2005-06. He has 31 penalty minutes this season, which is already more than he had in the three seasons prior.
On Thursday against Pittsburgh, Brown again threw what appeared to be a dangerous hit on Justin Schultz. The Penguins defenceman had fallen to his knees and was trying to play the puck along the boards, when Brown came in and checked him from behind. Brown was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding, and will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday.
“I fell, I’m facing the wall and then all of a sudden my face gets driven into the dasher there,” Schultz told reporters after the game. “I don’t know why. There was plenty of time to not do that.”
For his part, Brown didn’t think the play was all that dirty and that the game misconduct was too heavy of a punishment.
“I’m going to close on him and he stumbles, toe picks,” Brown said.
“I don’t drive him through the wall or anything, but I also close in on the play. At the most it’s probably a two(-minute minor), I think.”
Schultz said he passed concussion protocol after the game and is not expected to miss any time.
Brown’s hit was not the only dirty play in the game either. During a first-period shift, Brown was speared in the groin by Evgeni Malkin, who didn’t receive a penalty.