There is nothing like starting the week off with a suspension.
On Saturday, December 17th there was an incident that occurred during the Bruins-Flyers game in Philadelphia. Boston forward Milan Lucic hit Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo on the far boards in the Flyers defensive zone during the second period. In the play, Lucic uses his left arm and upper body strength to shoulder Rinaldo off the puck, which sends the Flyer off of his feet and hard into the glass. After the hit, the whistles were blown and Lucic was given a five-minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct.
After further review of the play by the NHL's Department of Player Safety, the league has decided to suspend Lucic for one game for his hit on Rinaldo. According to NHL.com, Lucic will forfeit $22,072, which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. He will be able to play again when Boston takes on Florida on December 23rd.
Since the dust has settled, you have to wonder what kind of message this was from the league. This isn't the first time this season that Lucic has placed himself in hot water regarding his play on the ice. Lest we forget, he ran over Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller on November 12th after Miller came way out of the net to play the puck. But instead of suspending him there, he simply got off with a warning. Following the outcry from the non-suspension, the league probably was looking for another chance at Lucic. The good thing for the NHL is that Lucic’s hit on Rinaldo wasn’t clean. But was it worth a suspension beyond the major and game misconduct? For his actions, Lucic has the “repeat offender” stamped on his record. Watch the hit below:
What do you think of the suspension? Is it deserved? Was it a make up suspension call to appease the fans? Or has Lucic put himself in the spotlight too many times this season for all the wrong reasons?
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