|Closing the book on the Milan Lucic/Ryan Miller hit… for now||11.15.11 at 1:50 am ET|
When word came down Sunday night that Milan Lucic had been called to the proverbial principal’s office for his hit on Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller, there were different reactions from different places. It kept what’s been an interesting conversation going just a little bit longer, and while the conversation can stop for now, you have to imagine both teams have Nov. 23 circled.
While Bruins fans were surprised that Brendan Shanahan would consider suspending Lucic for the play, it seems non-Bruins fans were rooting for the B’s to get their comeuppance.
In the end, Shanahan opted against suspending Lucic, saying he found out all he needed to regarding intent on a play in which the two players were racing for a puck in the Sabres’ zone. The lack of suspension means the red-hot Bruins can breathe a sigh of relief, and it likely gives the Sabres all the more motivation to respond when the teams meet a week from Wednesday in Buffalo. Things figure to get more interesting than they already are.
The play itself remains a popular topic of debate. Lucic was chasing the puck after blocking a shot, but Miller came way out of his net to clear it before getting hit. One popular line of thinking among fans around the net was that Miller shouldn’t have come so far out of the net, as skating that far out makes him fair game.
The response to that, of course, is a simple, “um’¦ no.” As Rule 42.1 (charging) states, “a goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease area.” As such, Lucic was assessed the correct penalty when the refs sent him to the box for two minutes on a charging call.
Then there’s the picture that a disciplinary hearing paints for Lucic. The left wing prides himself on being a power forward who has no shortage of grit or offensive skill, but such hearings are never a good thing. While he is not a dirty player, this wasn’t the first time he found himself being criticized for an ill-advised play. The one suspension of Lucic’s career came in Game 2 of the first round against the Habs in 2009, when Lucic cross-checked Maxim Lapierre in the head. More recently, his punch to the head of then-Thrashers defenseman Freddy Meyer last season (which did follow a high hit from Meyer and got him a match penalty and an automatic hearing) last December and a sucker-punch to Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman in Game 1 of the conference finals a season ago provide Lucic-bashers with plenty of ammunition.
Claude Julien defended Lucic Monday, saying the 23-year-old goes hard at all times, so much so that he accidentally did the same thing to coach Geoff Ward in a practice last season, knocking Ward down much like he did to Miller.
As for the Sabres, it seems they can’t catch a break. With Miller out with a concussion, Jhonas Enroth started in his place Monday night and was knocked down when Habs defenseman Erik Cole hit him in the crease. Cole was assessed an interference minor, while the entire Sabres’ bench was likely scratching their heads over the luck of their netminders.
Regardless of who’s in net on the 23rd, things figure to be interesting. Tim Thomas admitted Saturday that he was on his toes following the Lucic hit, as he thought a Sabres player might take a run at him. After the Sabres failed to respond at all Saturday, one would think they’ll try to correct that in the next meeting.
For now, the book can be closed on the matter, but next Wednesday figures to be a different story.
|Ryan Spooner named OHL Player of the Week||11.14.11 at 7:39 pm ET|
Kingston forward Ryan Spooner was named the OHL Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 7-13 on Monday. Spooner, a second-round pick of the Bruins in the 2010 draft, had 10 points over three games during the week.
The standout performance in the brilliant week for the 19-year-old was a five-point night against Saginaw Sunday in which he scored a shorthanded goal and contributed four assists, thus factoring into all five of the Frontenacs’ goals in the 5-3 win.
Spooner is among the Bruins’ brightest prospects, and joins Dougie Hamilton (Niagara), Jared Knight (London) and Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor) as B’s prospects currently having big seasons in the OHL.
|Milan Lucic won’t be suspended for hit on Ryan Miller||11.14.11 at 3:48 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic will not be suspended or fined after his hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Monday. Lucic had a phone hearing with Shanahan over his first-period hit on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in Saturday’s game.
“I had the hearing because I did make an initial assessment of the play as I do with all plays, but I did have some questions for Milan and I wanted to hear directly from him,” Shanahan told NHL.com following the hearing. “They were regarding his intent; at what point did he know there was going to be a collision; and whether or not he felt he had the time to avoid the collision. I was satisfied with his answers.”
Lucic was given a charging minor for the play in which he and Miller were chasing a puck in Sabres’ zone. Miller got there first and cleared the puck, but Lucic followed through with his hit. Shanahan said the call made on the ice was the correct one given that Rule 42.1 states “a goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease area.”
|Tyler Seguin named first star of the week||11.14.11 at 12:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has been named the NHL’s first star for the past week. Seguin had four goals, two assists and a plus-4 rating over three games last week.
“It’s pretty cool,” Seguin said after Monday’s practice. “Obviously it’s never happened to me before, so I feel pretty good about it.”
Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard and Chicago forward Jonathan Toews were named the second and third stars, respectively.
|Milan Lucic watched replay ‘100 times’ surprised Ryan Miller has concussion||11.14.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Count Bruins forward Milan Lucic among those surprised to hear that Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller suffered a concussion on Lucic’s hit on the goaltender Saturday night. Lucic said after Monday’s practice that his confusion comes from the fact that though his helmet came off, contact was not made with his head.
“I’ve looked at the hit 100 times because he said he got a concussion. I looked at it, and his shoulder hit my chest, so there was no hit to his head. His helmet came flying off, but his head didn’t hit the ice and later on in that period, one of their guys lifted [Tyler Seguin]’s stick and threw him into the net as well, so who knows what it was? It was obviously unfortunate to hear that he got hurt on the play.”
Lucic also pointed to the fact that Miller stayed in the game after the first-period play and played the entire second period before leaving the game. Players are required to leave the ice and go to a designated quiet room if they suspect they may have suffered a head injury.
“Was I surprised? Yeah, because with the new protocol and the concussion stuff, I know the last there NHLPA meetings that I’ve been a part of, they’re clarifying about concussions and head injuries,” Lucic said. “The main thing that they talked about is that there’s no such thing as getting your bell rung or seeing stars anymore. That’s considered a concussion, and if you’re in that position, you have to do whatever you can to take yourself out of play.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Andrew Ference only player missing at Bruins practice||11.14.11 at 11:04 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Andrew Ference was the only player missing at Bruins’ practice Monday, as the defenseman has been out with a lower-body injury.
After taking part in Saturday’s morning skate, forward Daniel Paille was back on the ice donning a full cage. Paille was hit in the face by a Steve Staios slapshot last Monday.
|Ryan Miller (concussion) out indefinitely, Milan Lucic has hearing with Brendan Shanahan||11.13.11 at 9:08 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic has a hearing scheduled with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for Monday at 1 pm, according to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The hearing will determine whether Lucic is suspended for Saturday’s first-period play in which he hit Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.
While Lucic may miss time due to the play, Miller definitely will. The Sabres announced Sunday that the goaltender, who called Lucic “gutless” after the game, suffered a concussion from the hit and will be out indefinitely.