Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

No Suspension for Boston Bruins’ Milan Lucic is a Travesty for NHL


As expected, the Boston Bruins went all-out on the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night with their physical play.

However, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic went too far when he speared Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser in the crotch in the winding seconds of the second period in Detroit’s 1-0 win.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Lucic received a $5,000 fine:

The NHL Department of Player Safety is supposed to protect the players, right? That’s why there are suspensions for shots to the head and other dirty plays, right?

How does Joel Quenneville get fined $25,000 for an obscene gesture, but Lucic gets fined $5,000 for a potentially harmful play?

This is a non-hockey play. DeKeyser laid a clean hit on Lucic, and Lucic was no doubt frustrated with A) The game still being tied at that point and B) Being taken out by DeKeyser.

How does the Shawn Thornton slew foot on Brooks Orpik get a suspension, or the James Neal knee-to-head on Brad Marchand get a suspension, but this doesn’t?

Do we only suspend players if an injury results? Is that the difference between the Thornton and Neal plays and the Lucic plays?

I’m so sick of the NHL basing their suspensions on whether or not a player was hurt. The intent was still there. Because DeKeyser was lucky enough to not sustain an injury doesn’t mean Lucic should be let off the hook.

Here’s the best part. This is Lucic’s excuse for the dirty play, which he has committed before:

Oh, it was the heat of the moment? OK, Milan. I guess we’ll just slap you on the wrist. Clearly, you were under the influence of “the heat of the moment” and you weren’t thinking clearly.

What a lame excuse. Lucic has done this before. How many more times does he get to use that as an excuse before the NHL does something about it?

Before you start calling me out for being a homer and only wishing a suspension on the other team, David Legwand did something very similar to Evgeni Malkin earlier in the season, which I also thought had no place in the game.

Plays like this are outside the game. They are frustration plays and fining players minuscule amounts of money isn’t going to deter them from doing it again.

Ask any player. I can guarantee you they say losing the opportunity to play a game or two will hurt more than losing a few thousand dollars. Especially in the middle of a playoff series, where a one- or two-game suspension could cost your team valuable wins.

These players make millions of dollars — a small fine isn’t going to scare them. But losing playing time — losing the ability to play the sport they’ve dedicated their lives too — that’ll hurt them the most.

This play is eerily similar to Shea Weber smashing Henrik Zetterberg’s face into the glass, and Weber getting a small $2,500 fine.

Does the NHL not learn from past mistakes? Are we going to let players do whatever they want because it’s the playoffs and every game matters that much more?

I don’t care if it’s the playoffs or a preseason game — you look at each event on its own and take the proper action necessary to deter it from happening again.

This is a travesty for the NHL. Stephane Quintal, who recently took over as head of Department of Player Safety for Brendan Shanahan, made a huge mistake early in his tenure.

But hey, at least he got twice as much as Weber did. Some might call that progress.

Tags: Milan Lucic

  • Pridenpoise

    Typical Lucic, the guy is a goon in every sense of the word, Detroit needs to put their biggest guy on Lucic, and put his face through the glass, I’m so tired of watching this POS, get away with murder in the playoffs.

  • noirablue

    Great article that rightly calls into question whether the “Player Safety” Department is really interested in protecting the players, even if it means benching an offender during the playoffs. So far the answer seems to be a resounding, “No.”
    I completely agree that Couch Q being fined more than Lucic is a travesty. Please have some guts, Mr. Quintal, and suspend players who deliberately try to injure–especially repeat offenders. I’m a Kings fan, and we have had this issue with Dustin Brown. He’s been suspended for head shots, but not for other injuries he’s caused. (Knee hit on Hertl, for example.) This type of play is just wrong, no matter who does it. It ruins games and playoff series for those who really love hockey, and want to see it played with toughness but also with fairness.
    Time for the NHL to take a stand and end these cheap shots by suspending the players who think this is “Just part of the game.” It isn’t…

  • Roberto Carraro

    Tom,

    Shame on you for demanding suspensions when a cheap shot, a dirty hit or a blatant attempt to injure the other team’s best player, (or any player for that matter).

    Have you no empathy whatsoever?

    Put yourself in Jeremy M. Jacobs’s shoes. You own the Boston Bruins. You have billions. You and a couple of other dinosaurs actually rule the NHL and pull the strings that make that ugly little spineless puppet Gary Betman dance and do your bidding.

    One of your best players (Marc Savard) is living in a fog but why would you care? You dont even need to pay him! Your buddy’s insurance company pays for that. For you, players are like widgets. When they break you replace them. Why would you suspend your own widget? That could cost you money if you exit the playoffs too soon. Let the widget pay a fine. Why would you care? The widget pays its own fine.

    Did you forget that widgets play for free in the playoffs?

    The widget only put s his short, mid and long term health on the line for the love of the sport and, FOR FREE!

    Only suspend your widget in case of murder, attempted murder or assault with a deadly weapon. Also, make sure the other widget is out of commission for longer than the suspension itself. Dead, half-dead, wheelchair bound or brain damage may or may not be suspendable offenses. Besides, you can allways appeal.

    As long as you don’t pay anything goes

    What about sportmanship, the love of the game or widget safety? Please reffer to the above statement.