Kings’ Dustin Brown won’t take Sharks’ bait on Tomas Hertl collision

Kings captain Dustin Brown celebrates with his teammates after scoring against the Ducks at the Honda Center.
(Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

NASHVILLE -- Recovering from a weird flu-like illness has occupied Dustin Brown’s time since it hit him ferociously earlier in the week, forcing him to miss Monday’s game against the Stars.

So the Kings captain wasn’t exactly following the words coming out of San Jose from Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson before the Christmas break. Wilson told Bay Area reporters that he was “disappointed” about the “lack of concern” from the Kings and Brown regarding Tomas Hertl’s knee injury.


That, by the way, was like lighting a match and throwing it on some Christmas gift wrapping paper in terms of the rivalry between the Kings and Sharks.

The knee-on-knee hit was accidental and Brown was trying to get out of the way. Hertl will require knee surgery and he could miss a significant amount of time, including the upcoming Olympics for his native Czech Republic.

“It’s unfortunate he got hurt, no doubt about it,” Brown said on Saturday here after the morning skate. “He’s an exciting player. I think it’s unfortunate for not only their team, but the league. There’s been a lot of excitement about him with the way he plays.

“It was one of those accidents on the ice. This is the first I’m hearing about it [Wilson’s comments]. I don’t read articles. I don’t go on Twitter. I have Twitter, but I don’t go on Twitter anymore.”

Apparently the Sharks were trying to paint a certain narrative regarding the Kings and Brown. He received a five-minute major for kneeing and automatic game misconduct.

This might disrupt the Sharks’ narrative: It should be noted that Brown made a point of reaching out to forward Jason Pominville of the Wild after his hit knocked Pominville out of the game and lineup in April of last season. He received a two-game suspension, the first of his NHL career.

“I talked to him right after the game,” Brown said. “Not that I meant to elbow him in the head, but I did. With this, we ran into each other and I was actually trying to get out of the way [of Hertl]. It just happened. I don’t really know anyone on the Sharks very well.”

Meanwhile, there could be a couple of lineup changes in the Kings’ first game after the holiday break. Goaltender Ben Scrivens, who has not been in action since a 3-1 loss at Chicago on Dec. 15, was the first goalie off the ice after the morning skate, usually a sign of getting the start.

And defenseman Willie Mitchell could return to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 14, based on pairings early in the morning skate. He has been out because of an upper-body injury.

“Just looking to get out there and do my thing,” Mitchell said. “It’s better and better every day. It’s never going to be perfect but looking forward to it.”

The Kings have three goalies on this trip but Jonathan Quick won’t return until the first week of January, at the earliest. “It doesn’t appear he’s going to play this year,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said, dryly, prompting laughter.

Said Scrivens: “It’s really easy to work with Quickie and Jonesy [Martin Jones]. They’re both great guys. I’ve been really fortunate with my time in the league, both in Toronto and here. Sometimes you hear about guys that are tough to work with in a tandem but I’m been extremely fortunate being able to work with a bunch of partners who have been great guys.”


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