On Tuesday the Los Angeles Kings downed the Phoenix Coyotes on Dustin Penner's overtime winner to advance to the Kings to their second Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history, but it was not without controversy.
Seconds before the goal, Penner hit Michael Rozsival at the blue line in what looked like a knee-to-knee hit. No penalty was called and Rozsival was hurt on the play. The Kings won the ensuing faceoff, took the puck down the ice and scored to win the game.
The Coyotes were so incensed at the lack of a penalty call that the chased the officials to the penalty box to air their grievances immediately following the goal.
Mike Smith and Shane Doan were so angry that both were ejected from the game by officials for complaining about the call.
But the night got uglier. Penner led the Kings through the handshake line at the end of the game and faced a torrent of verbal abuse from the Coyotes, led by Doan.
If Raffi Torres gets 25 games for his hit during the play then this guy ought to be done forever, Mike Smith said after the game in obvious frustration.
The reference to Raffi Torres, the Coyotes player who hospitalized the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa in the first round of the playoffs is laughable here. Hossa was hospitalized and his future career is in jeopardy, while Rozsival skated off the ice under his own power.
The hit did appear to be a penalty, but if Penner hadn't scored immediately it would not be the center of discussion it is right now. Referees miss penalties all the time and they are especially loathe to call them in overtime of an elimination game of the Western Conference Finals.
It was a difficult situation for the Coyotes, and they are their fans can justifiably be frustrated, but it is unfortunate that what should have been a great moment for the Kings is tarnished by this.
Especially when fans know already that the Stanley Cup presentation will be ruined by the boos that will reign down on Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Penner's hit on Rozsival:
The OT goal and handshake line: