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Insider

Pietrangelo injury could sideline King

4/29/2012
There is concern that Alex Pietrangelo could have suffered a concussion Saturday night. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

ST. LOUIS -- From the viewpoint of Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, Dwight King's boarding of St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo got exactly what it deserved -- a two-minute penalty.

But at this point, it's not his opinion that matters. NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will surely take a look at the hit, especially considering the result. Pietrangelo ended up leaving the game and spending time in the quiet room, which means that it's safe to suspect that this upper body injury could be a concussion.

If he's out any significant time, that could mean King will be joining him, especially if you believe star players get special consideration. Because there's no doubt Pietrangelo is approaching star status.

I asked King to break down what he saw on the penalty.

"The puck was coming around behind the net pretty slow," he said. "I tried to position myself to get the puck. I tried to reach with my stick and tried to separate him from the puck. I probably shouldn't have leaned so hard on him."

So does he expect a call from Shanahan?

"I guess that will happen if it happens," he said. "I can't read the future. We'll see what happens."

St. Louis fans wanted to see, at the very least, a major after their franchise defenseman crumpled awkwardly into the boards and then missed significant ice time. He was also cut on the play. St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jeremy Rutherford caught up with the NHL supervisor of officiating for this series, Kay Whitmore, who explained the decision to call it a minor penalty.

"They deemed it a minor," Whitmore told Rutherford. "It's their judgment. They see the whole play unfold, and they didn't deem in this instance obviously that King drove [Pietrangelo] into the boards. It was a hit, he was in a vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call a major."

Pietrangelo's cut wasn't immediately detected.

"They didn't see the cut, the small cut, under his chin from what I've been told until up to a minute or so after when they were over by the bench," Whitmore said. "So it was a delay, a period of time that went by, and it's tough for them to go over and say, 'It's a major now.'"

The Blues said Pietrangelo will be re-evaluated, but an injury to him this early in the series would be a huge blow for St. Louis, which would have to find a way to replace the nearly 25 minutes per game he's been averaging during the playoffs.

"I've got bigger issues than replacing Petro," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said after the game. "We need much better play from our top players. Much more committed play from our top players if we expect to move on and win a hockey game on Monday. For me, that's a bigger issue than where Petro's at right now."