In a rivalry that is already intense (it’s a NorCal-SoCal thing), this incident isn’t going to do a lot to lessen the tension between the clubs.
San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said he’s not happy with the lack of concern being shown by Brown and the Kings in the wake of the injury.
“Having played in this league a long time … when I was a rookie, I was tripped into a net in Hartford by the great Gordie Howe and injured and carried off the ice,” Wilson told CSNBayArea.com. “He came in between periods all the way around the rink to make sure I was OK. So, my response to the lack of, maybe, concern towards out player, is disappointing.”
Brown gave a long interview with LAKingsInsider.com, in which he said it was wrong for him to be given a game misconduct for the hit on Hertl.
But nowhere in that interview was he asked or did Brown mention any concern for Hertl’s condition. Instead, it was a lengthy explanation about how he was as innocent as the driven snow and hadn’t done anything wrong.
Hertl, 20, was leading NHL rookies in scoring and goals and had earned a spot on San Jose’s top line. He was the likely front-runner for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.
That’s all gone now. So, too, is his opportunity to represent the Czech Republic at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Wilson basically laid out a scenario in which Hertl is all but out for the Olympics and might not be back at all this season.
“The smile that just resonates on his face is not there, for obvious reasons,” Wilson said. “This is a player I think that’s been a great story. His love of the game, how he’s played; he just loves being at the rink. It’s certainly the first major injury he’s had to deal with and to have it happen at this time and the way he was playing, I’d say is tremendously disappointing for him. We’ll get him through it, it’s just tough.”
In any event, it might do to circle Jan. 27 on your calendar.
That’s the night the Kings and Sharks next play, at the SAP Center in San Jose.
Dustin Brown might be in for a rough night.