Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Dustin Brown suspended two games for elbow to Jason Pominville's face

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: April 24, 2013 - 4:28 PM

Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has been suspended the final two games of the Kings regular season. The suspension stems from Brown's elbow to the face of Wild winger Jason Pominville in the second period last night.

He loses $34,324.32 in salary. Here is Brendan Shanahan's video explaining NHL Safety's decision.

Brown, who had played in 314 consecutive games, will be well-rested for the beginning of the playoffs next week.

The first of those games comes tonight against Detroit, which is probably not a good thing for the Wild, which is being chased by the 9th-place Red Wings (three points back with three games left).

"I had the puck on my stick, he’s coming to hit me and I’m just bracing myself," Brown said when I asked him about the elbow last night.

The Wild didn't practice today, but official word thus far is Pominville is day to day with an upper body injury. GM Chuck Fletcher said it was too early to know yet if the Wild needs to recall a forward. If Pominville is sidelined, the Wild has no extra on the roster right now unless Mike Rupp is ready to return Friday from a knee injury. Otherwise, the Wild will have to look to the Houston farm.

Big blow if he is sidelined. Nine points in 10 games, 4, 2-point games, and those came in games the Wild went 3-0-1. He helped elevate that Pierre-Marc Bouchard/Kyle Brodziak line.

The Wild hasn't called it a concussion, but because Pominville was so wobbly getting to the bench, I have gotten a lot of tweets asking if he has a concussion history. His lone documented one in the NHL came Oct. 11, 2010, when he was hit from behind by Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson. Pominville, who has played five 82-game season, missed nine games.

This is just the latest blown call from officials. Not only has refs missed about a dozen high sticks in the last month (and I'm not exaggerating), Coyle received a match penalty for a hit against Columbus 17 seconds into a game that was later deemed legal by the NHL. Now, no call on the dirty and blatant Brown elbow on Pominville that's later deemed illegal.

Fascinating. These are critical errors in huge, critical games.

We will see Thursday at practice if there's an update on Pominville or if he's on the ice.

I did contact coach Mike Yeo today about some of the public criticism from fans and media about the Wild's lack of response to the Brown elbow last night. I touched on what my opinion was on last night's blog, which you can see on the below blog, but Yeo said, "Need to win, simple as that. We take a penalty and they score and Brown has hurt a lot more than Poms. If that happens no one would have been more upset than Poms, he wants our team in the playoffs."

Speaking of playoffs, again, two points in the Wild's final two games and the Wild's in for the first time since 2008. But, if the Red Wings lose in regulation tonight against L.A. and tomorrow against Nashville OR Columbus loses in regulation tomorrow at Dallas, the Wild clinches even before Friday's game against Edmonton.

Single-game playoff tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

By the way, if you didn't see, Chicago scribes report former St. Cloud State standout and Hobey Baker winner Drew Leblanc will make his NHL debut tonight at Edmonton ... on a line with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. CSN Chicago's Tracey Myers tweeted a quote from Leblanc, a true puck distributor, on his plans tonight: "Get them the puck and get out of their way is my strategy."

He is ineligible for the playoffs though because he was signed after the April 3 trade deadline.

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