Last night, the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres faced off in a NorthEast Division battle. Mid-way through the first period with the Sabres leading 1-0, Milan Lucic blocked a point shot from Thomas Vanek and was off on a breakaway. Lucic however, pushed the puck a little too far ahead of him as he was trying to gain control of it and as he was chasing after it, Ryan Miller came out of his crease and shot the puck to the side boards before almost getting his head knocked off by a hard, streaking Lucic. The Sabres barely reacted after Milan Lucic hit Ryan Miller. They went after him building a pile up in the corner, but no fights broke out and nobody did anything to Lucic.
At first, I thought that it was a clean hit because Lucic was just skating hard as he usually does going after the puck, but as I watched it over and over, I changed my mind. He was skating hard after the puck, but he could still see Ryan Miller very clearly and did not even try to slow down or stop, he went in for a full body hit.
On that play, Lucic only got a 2 minute penalty for “charging” which I believe was the right call. Lucic might have been able to slow down resulting in a softer collision, but that wouldn’t have stopped him from colliding with Miller. Miller later left the game do to a concussion and is now considered “out indefinitely”.
Although he is the reason for Miller’s concussion, he has not been suspended or fined as per the Boston Bruins official Twitter account. Brendan Shanahan had a disciplinary hearing with Lucic earlier today via conference call and asked him a few questions before making his final decision. Shanahan stated that the referee’s 2 minute penalty for charging call was the proper action because Rule 42.1 reads “a goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease area” which is totally correct. Anyone remember Tim Thomas’ hit on Henrik Sedin in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals? Thomas purposely hit Henrik Sedin when he was near his crease and got no penalty so what’s the difference if a player ACCIDENTALLY hits a goalie 5-10 feet outside his own crease?
Point is, both the referee and Brendan Shanahan made the right calls in only giving Lucic a 2 minute “charging” penalty (referee) and not suspending, nor fining Lucic (Shanahan).
You decide: Should Lucic have been suspended for his hit on Miller?
Should Lucic have tried his best to slow down to soften the collision on Miller?
Did Brendan Shanahan make the right decision in not suspending, nor fining Lucic?
Leave your answers in the comments section below.
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