Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown has become the center of scrutiny after smashing a Nashville Predators fan’s iPhone after a heated brawl on the ice.
There is no denying things got heated on Monday night in Music City, and unfortunately, it had nothing to do with the weather or the nightlife. No, this story played out at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville as the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Nashville Predators in the final game of their five-game road trip.
Until they made their way to Nashville, the Tampa Bay Lightning had dominated their way through their road trip, having picked up all eight available points along the way. Unfortunately for the Lightning, a number of on-ice miscues and a string of missed calls by the referees led to more than a couple heated encounters.
The bad news is, things escalated to a whole other level when the frustrations that mounted on the ice spilled out into the stands. As you can imagine, this is something that should never happen. Alas, it did.
The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves at the end of a painful game with very little time to make things right. The Predators had control of the puck in the Lightning’s zone. J.T. Brown rushes down the ice towards the puck with Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis hot on his trail.
At the last minute, Brown decides to stop chasing the puck and spins on the ice. Suddenly, Ellis and Brown collide and all hell breaks loose. J.T. Brown decides to channel his inner Floyd Mayweather and begins wailing on Ellis as he is pinned to the ice.
Before anyone even knew what happened, there was an all-out brawl on the ice. Even after the refs had split these two apart, Brown continued his assault on Ellis. No matter how much the ref tried to keep the two separated, Brown just wouldn’t back down.
Obviously, this was the end of the night for J.T. Brown. With 1:35 left on the clock, there wouldn’t be adequate time for him to sit in the penalty box, so rather than have the situation continue to escalate, they would simply nip it in the bud by calling it a night.
Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of the real trouble in Smashville. According to TMZ, as J.T. Brown made his way off the ice, a Predators fan by the name of Brendan Johansen began to heckle him. This is nothing new in the game of hockey. We’ve all talked a little smack to an opposing player from time to time.
The point and time when things took a turn for the worse is when Brown decided to reach up and assault the Predators fan by smashing his iPhone. While we will concede that tempers were already flared at the particular moment in time, there is nevera time when it’s appropriate to bring the fight into the stands.
Tampa Bay Lightning fans were incensed back in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals when Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton elected to assault a Lightning fan with a water bottle. It only makes sense that fans simply cannot stand beside one of their players for exacting similar behavior on another team.
The good news for Brown is that according to TMZ, Johansen isn’t particularly mad at the incident and has no current plans on taking any sort of legal action against Brown. On the other hand, Johansen is hopeful the Lightning will pick up the bill for his phone considering the condition it was left in after Brown’s assault.
J.T. Brown may have escaped prosecution on the legal front, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is out of the woods when it comes to on the ice. There is a very real possibility the National Hockey League, and/or the Tampa Bay Lightning, could elect to enforce some sort of punishment on Brown for his actions.
At this point, there has been no word from the Tampa Bay Lightning in regards to the incident, but one would suspect if anything were to come of this matter, it would happen before the Lightning are set to make their way home to the Amalie Arena to take on the Philadelphia Flyers, in what is sure to be another heated battle.
As we said previously, we completely understand that there are times when tempers flare and things get out of control on the ice. The fact of the matter is, this is where these tempers need to stay…on the ice. We are all human and have made mistakes from time to time, but it is mistakes like this one that can permanently tarnish a player’s reputation and their career. That’s not even discussing the ramifications on the team itself.
At the very least, and we do mean very least, J.T. Brown should be forced to reimburse Johansen for his damaged property and issue a public apology for allowing himself to lose control of his temper. Hopefully, once this passes, we can get back to business and concentrate on what matters most, scoring goals and winning games.