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Does Milan Lucic deserve a suspension for hitting Ryan Miller?

Nov 12, 2011, 9:05 PM EDT

The Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres have been jousting for the Northeast Division title for the last couple seasons. The Bruins also knocked the Sabres out of the 2010 playoffs. So it’s too simple to say that Milan Lucic‘s hit on Ryan Miller will make these two teams hate each other – they already did. Still, this just about clinches it:

Lucic received a two-minute charging penalty for that hit, but Bruins fans will be quick to point out that Miller played the puck far outside his crease. What do you think? Should Lucic face a suspension or fine for “taking liberties” with Miller? At least one PHT staffer voiced his disapproval, but we’re curious to see how you feel.

(Don’t hold back because Lucic certainly didn’t … )

  1. taytay099 - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    No. When goalies get out of the crease like that they should be fair game. He deserved that hard hit.

  2. 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    If you can’t take the hit, then don’t leave the crease and put your stick on the puck.

  3. ven9898 - Nov 12, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    He is an overrated goon. If he hit a skater like that it would have been a headshot and suspension, so I say sit him. Boston is a bunch of over hyped “tough guys”, just like the people who live there.

    • sherie83 - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM

      A play during a hockey game is hardly an indictment on an entire city, does your ridiculous comment indicate that Buffalo is full of over sensitive pansies?

    • gemini70jones3 - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:32 PM

      Way to show your intelligence dumb a**.
      This is hockey, it’s a PHYSICAL game. Perhaps you should watch shuffleboard instead.

    • frankvzappa - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      over hyped Stanley Cup champions? is that even a freaking possibility? sorry you are a Ryan Miller homer, but he got what he deserved for skating halfway to the blue line…

    • dpennica - Nov 13, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      It must work. We won the cup with this style.

    • goon48 - Nov 13, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      That ‘s a moronic answer, Boston is so over hyped that they have scored 30 goals in five games.

  4. 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    An over rated goon that scores goals, punches his opponents lights out and raised the cup.

    Definition of charging: Taking more than three strides or jumping before hitting an opponent.

    I counted maybe a half second in between Miller releasing the puck and getting hit. Bottom line is that goalies have a crease for a reason, if they come that far out of it and want to play “skater” and touch the puck they’d better be ready to take a hit.

    The Bruins are going to bring some pain. Maybe the girls in this league should just put their figure skates away when the black and gold is in town.

    • dbick - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:47 PM

      lol your team’s in 11th place

      • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

        Correction a$$hat. My team is in 11th place, winners of five in a row and the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

        Say it right, dumba$$!

      • dbick - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:00 PM

        my bad: your teams in 11th place, winners of five in a row, won a fluke stanley cup cause tim thomas was out of this world and have essentially been irrelevant for the last decade.

        Also this is the internet, feel free to swear without using $ for the letter s.

      • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM

        Do the math, jerkie. The Bruins outscored the Canucks 23-8. It wasn’t just Thomas. A couple of black and gold bounces and the series only goes four or five games.

        I can’t believe I’m wasting my time actually explaining this to you.

      • pugsley927 - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:04 AM

        no such thing as a fluke Stanley Cup. You, sir, are an idiot.

  5. gemini70jones3 - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Lucic doesn’t deserve to be suspended for this hit. Miller came out of his “safety zone”, & Lucic wasn’t being malicious, he was pursuing the puck. The 2 minute penalty he took should end it.

  6. Ryan - Nov 12, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    I agree when you say that Miller came out of his “safety zone” but Lucic knew he was not going to get the puck back so he instantly decided to run Miller. Watch the replay, especially in slow’ll see what I’m talking about. The NHL will do something about this if they want to protect goaltenders better. The worst part is that Lucic is about 50 pounds bigger than Miller. He has no right to do what he did. He is and always has been a goon.

    • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:01 PM

      Oh! So Lucic and every other forward is supposed to run the weight math before they check someone? Hey, the crease is there for a reason. When goalies come out of it and decide to effect the play of the game they become skaters. Is there some unwritten rule that says, “when an undersized, over rated goalie decides to leave the crease in an effort to minimize a defensive break down, all players from the opposing team should pull up”?

      I’ll say this, Lucic may have hit him a little late. Maybe. But any goalie that decides to play hockey and pretend they are a defense man deserves any hit they get within the rules. Stay where you belong!

      • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        Can’t have the goaltenders getting run.. Otherwise someone would have taken a run at Thomas last season.. That would have put a quick stop to the Bruins run..

        That being said looked like a bang-bang play.. Penalty was justified … Suspension would be harsh and reaction to the injury not the act.

        In the end, Lucic just show how much respect he has for his fellow Players . . . None. Lucic had no intention of playing the puck which is why he got the penalty.

      • fishingsnydz - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        any hit within the rules…is not the rule. The goalie is not “fair game” outside the crease. They cannot be hit intentionally which Lucic did. The worst part wasnt getting hit it was the fact that the team did nothing. Lucic is a giant goon. He will always be known for being a goon

  7. nfieldr - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    He didn’t deserver a penalty much less a suspension. It wasn’t like he took aim at Miller. He was chasing a loose puck for a possible breakaway. IMHO, goalies want it both ways… they want to play the puck, but they don’t want to take a hit like any other hockey player.

    • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:08 PM

      Bingo. Well said.

    • jwcamp - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:56 AM

      Are you kidding? He absolutely took aim at Miller. He saw the opportunity for a cheap shot and he took it. The puck was 20 ft away by the time he hit Miller. The least he could’ve done was try to make it look like he was making an attempt at avoiding him whether he was or not.

  8. eyesfront77 - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    I’m not a fan of either team, but, since it seems like the majority of the posts are Bruins fans, I’d like to ask them the question:

    If, say Patrick Kaleta, would have hit Tim Thomas in a similar manner, would there still be all the tough talk about goalie’s being fair game?

    Of course you’ll all say you would, but, honestly…you wouldn’t!

    (Bring on the hate!)

    • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:13 PM

      Thomas knows better than to come out that far. He, and Rask, would stay in the crease and make the save.

      Miller overstepped his boundaries, forgot who he is and where he was and got popped for it. Period.

      Any other questions?

      • eyesfront77 - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:16 PM

        Nah, I’d rather you answer the one I asked, instead of deflecting…

      • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:27 PM

        Any goalie, and I don’t care if it’s Tim Thomas, Bunny Laroque, Ken Dryden, Martin Brodeur, Gerry Cheevers, Bill Ranford, Manon Rheaume, etc. knows that when they skate out of the crease and handle the puck like one of the other five skaters opens himself/herself up to be treated as such. If Thomas got pummeled like that I’d be surprised that he actually put himself into that situation but completely okay with whatever happened.

        It’s hockey, damnit. Not freaking croquet!

      • fishingsnydz - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact. I did not see any effort at all to avoid him, just Lucic rasign his arms and stick into millers upper body. If he wanted to stop which he has to make an attemptto or else it is a penalty he could have at least put his arms down or grabbed miller to limit the hit…instead he checks him in the chest…

      • donfocker89 - Nov 15, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Of course Thomas knows not to go out of the net. We all saw how they lost game 2, lol.

    • boston25rocketman - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:45 PM

      If Timmy got himself hit in that way and left the game, then it would justify every other time that I have a mini-heart attack when he comes out of the crease to play a puck.

    • phonymahoney - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      Honestly, who in their right mind would run Thomas? Of course I’d be pissed, but to be perfectly honest, Timmy would take care of business himself if someone hit him.

      …maybe if someone had the guts to him him while he was outside the crease, Vancouver would have won a Cup instead of choking in June.

    • gilberoni - Nov 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Tim wouldn’t be whining about it

      • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

        I beg to differ.. I don;t htink he be getting up to congratulate the guy on a great hit.. ANd we would never hear the end of it on here.. from all the Bruin fans.

      • fishingsnydz - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        yea I agree hystoracle no matter what team your a fan of…when your goalie gets hit like that you would be whining

  9. eyesfront77 - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Sure ya would, tough-guy…
    get that blood-pressure down before ya have a wicked-grabber, eh?

    (i.e. a heart attack…seriously, getting this worked up has got to have your blood-pressure sky-high, its unhealthy! unless you’re like 15 and arguing on an internet message board is the highlight of your day/week/month/year/life, in which case, have fun “yelling” at the world on this message board)

    Sleep well, folks!

    • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:42 PM

      Yeah, I would.

      Hey, check this out:

      I think if she were playing I’d have to find a way to get tangled with her in the crease. I’ll bet she’s still hot! Seriously, a chick that not only likes hockey, but played it?

  10. boston25rocketman - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    Lucic didn’t hit Miller anywhere near as hard as he could have, it looks as though he did pull up. Probably didn’t pull up as much as he could have but that they were both pursuing the puck made a collision borderline impossible to avoid. As people have said, goalie comes that far out of his crease then he’s gotta expect contact, especially when a forward is barreling down the ice with rubber in his sights. Same as if a forward crosses into the goal crease, if you don’t expect the goalie to take a shove at you then you’re crazy. 2 min penalty ought to be the end of it.

    Btw, Miller doesn’t earn himself many points by trying to slash Lucic’s legs after the whistle with his stick.

    • 8man - Nov 12, 2011 at 11:44 PM

      I wish I’d said what you said. You and nfieldr pretty much summed it up. Thanks.

      • boston25rocketman - Nov 13, 2011 at 7:43 AM

        No prob, I always call them like I see them.

    • charli2ume - Nov 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM

      Lucic did deserve a penalty because he did not make an effort to avoid or minimize contact and he threw an elbow right before the hit. He also deserves to be suspended. I suggest you Boston fans read the rulebook; especially section 42.1 on charging which states that the player must make a reasonable effort to AVOID collision or MINIMIZE the contact and that goalies are not “fair game” on open ice. Also refer to section 45.1 on elbowing. Lucic did neither. Maybe your arguments would hold a little more weight if you actually knew the rules and could use them to defend your arguments. Download’s free. Next time you will may actually have some intelligent responses.

      • boston25rocketman - Nov 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        And maybe you should actually watch the game, and then respond. If you watch the play Lucic’s head is down and eyes on the puck while Miller knowingly played himself more than 10 feet out of his crease. And by watching the play maybe you’d also notice that Lucic definitely pulled up somewhat to lessen the contact. But you’re probably Canadian, or at the least you’re as much of an arrogant douche as they are. And elbowing? Seriously? Moron.

      • gallyhatch - Nov 13, 2011 at 6:38 PM

        45.1 Elbowing – Elbowing shall mean the use of an extended elbow in a manner that may or may not cause injury.

        He does not throw an elbow before the hit, it’s actually the complete opposite. He had BOTH elbows held firmly against his body, it was only after the contact that Lucic threw out his arms.

        If you want to argue that Lucic did not make a reasonable effort to avoid the contact that’s fine, but rule 42.1 also clearly states:
        “However, incidental contact, at the discretion of the Referee, will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.”
        I can counter your argument that by tucking his elbows Lucic did make a reasonable effort to minimize the contact.
        The follow through shove was questionable at best, and a dirty move at worst, but it’s up to the referee to determine at that time.

        Another referee could have considered the play to be clean as they were both playing the puck & Lucic tucked his elbows. It’s a judgement call of the on-ice official.

        This is not a suspendable hit.

      • nirvanafan01234 - Nov 13, 2011 at 8:53 PM

        Gallyhatch, When does Lucic try to play the puck? If he did try, his stick would be on the ice right? Check out the replay again. It should have been 2 minutes and a game misconduct. I expect to see a suspension coming Lucic’s way.

        And why would Vanek even try to shoot that puck through Lucic? Horrible decision.

      • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

        There was no elbowing.. Not sure where you found an elbow there.

    • charli2ume - Nov 13, 2011 at 7:00 PM

      as I said before,, boston bruins and fans are classless always have been always will be

      • boston25rocketman - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:48 PM

        As I said, you clearly didn’t/don’t watch video.

      • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

        Not sure he has to watch any video to determine the Bruins and their fans are classless.. The comments pretty much provide all the evidence Charli2ume needs.

    • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      Wathc the video – watched it 3 times.. Which means with replays I saw the hit at least 12 times.. Lucic made no attempt to avoid contact or lessen blow.. HE plowed right through him.. Tucking in your arms is what every player does before they deliver a hit to avoid elbowing.. He hit straight up..

      You can’t say he has a right to hit the goalie and then say he tried to pull up.. Take off the Bruin colored glasses, he definitely didn’t pull up. Charging call was fair..

      Though I do agree the two minute penalty should be the end of it. Suspension would be overreaction but not surprising given Shanahan’s criteria.. Player was injured and offending player has a history and there was a penalty called on the play.

  11. jambrochill - Nov 13, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    I think the only gutless part of play was millers machete-like swipe of his goalie stick at Lucic after he got his bell rung. You come out that far in my opinion and you are fair game. Goalies have more padding on than the Michelin man

    • nirvanafan01234 - Nov 13, 2011 at 8:54 PM

      The rules say differently. Running a goalie is pretty gutless IMO.

  12. danphipps01 - Nov 13, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    Man, I’m pretty mixed on my opinion of both the Bruins and Lucic. I like their physicality, but I find them intentionally toeing the line of penalties all the time. I like Lucic because he actually skated over and apologized for a high stick once, which guys usually don’t do even when it’s accidental – but he can also make some pretty dirty plays. I say all this to establish that I’m not really in one camp or the other when I say that this didn’t look like a bad hit. He didn’t meet the definition of charging, as another poster established. He didn’t target the head, as the video clearly shows. He just saw Miller out and going for the puck and laid the hit on him in an attempt to take back the play. I look at it this way – if that same hit had been laid on a defenseman, we wouldn’t be discussing anything. It wasn’t a headshot, it wasn’t a charge, and the player went for the puck. The only debate-worthy factor was that it was a goalie and not one of the other five skaters. Clean hit. Hard hit, damaging hit, taking-time-off hit, but a clean one all the same. Lucic is HUGE. Even a clean hit can be dangerous when you’re as big as he is. Miller took the risk and it didn’t pay off. That’s not on Lucic. That’s on Miller.

    • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      When I heard about this I was expecting a bull rush on the goalie in the crease.. A play that happens more that it should in the NHL without a call. This was a kind of bang-bang play.. Miller would have been better served to turtle and cover the puck.

  13. rabidbillsfan - Nov 13, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Well, I always wonder if people who post watch the same game as everbody else. Miller had time to, not only skate to the puck, but to stop and play it off the boards before getting crushed. Lucic clearly made no attempt to stop, vut also didn’t speed up either. That was an avoidable collision. Now, I know the games over and blah blah blah… but at that time, that was the right choice of miller. A game that so far has been physical and you have the lead, a huge breakaway chance is not in the best intrest of your team. Do I think miller knew he was going to get hit? Yes, but he probaly thought if anything they would arrive at the puck about the same time, still nullifying the breakaway but also taking a shot with tbe puck, which wouldn’t have been met with a swipe of the stick. Either way, a suspension wilk be coming, I do, as a sabres fan, hope its not a lenghthy one as both parties have blame, but one party was a goalie.

  14. gemini70jones3 - Nov 13, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    I guess Shannahan needs to make the ruling then that a goalie can come out of his crease as far as he wants, whenever he wants, play the puck, attempt to slash, etc. & the ACTUAL players responsible for the offense/defense are to stop moving & let them pass.
    Maybe we should just have goalie vs goalie & the other 10 guys can set on the bench.
    To dbick, we may be in 11th place. HOWEVER, Bruins have won the cup 6 times. How many for the Sabres…. Let’s see…… A BIG FAT ZERO!

  15. gallyhatch - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    I don’t think he should be suspended.

    One could even argue he should not have been penalized, however I think the refs ‘erred on the side of caution’ by giving him two minutes. (if they do nothing, it’s reasonable to assume the Sabres retaliate, and the game spirals out of control)

    Can someone reference something out of the rulebook to justify a suspension? IMO breaking an ‘unwritten rule’ should not be enough grounds to suspend.

  16. supbaru - Nov 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    from my view (an i am a b’s fan from way back) it looked like lucic wasn’t going to completely avoid contact and so made sure he wasn’t going to get the worst of the collision – yeah, he smacked miller. but no suspension. you can’t tell a guy to let himself take the brunt of a collision. look, after the hit, he stopped and “mea culpa’d” with his hand on his chest – when miller slashed at him with his stick, which could have ended lucic’s season if it connected with an ankle.

  17. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Nov 13, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    He shouldn’t have CHECKED Miller, I don’t care that he hits him but no need to lay him out. not a fan of either team but there are certain things you do and don’t do. He should have played the puck and not the player. Classless hit but not surprised at all from him

    • gilberoni - Nov 13, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      out of the crease, playing the puck – what do you expect ?
      he should of stayed in the crease or not whined about the outcome

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Nov 13, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        what do you mean what do you expect. Please inform me on how many other times this has happened… please I am waiting

      • boltsfan777 - Nov 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM

        gilberoni: It’s easy for you to say that when it’s your team making the spectacular hit, hard to swallow when your guy receives a concussion. I remember a lot of whining from Boston fan last Stanley Cup finals when Rome made that great hit on Horton. It was a great hit and couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Horton bore some responsiblity in it because he was admiring his pass instead of looking ahead, as Miller bore some responsiblity too. Let’s plug that situation into your statement:
        “he should of kept his head up and looked ahead instead of admiring his pass, or not whined about the outcome”.

    • gallyhatch - Nov 13, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      I know I am repeating what other posters have said, but Miller’s retaliatory slash was just as classless, if not more.

      Miller (and gbiscottagecheesefatties) are complaining about this hit why? Because “you just don’t do that”?
      There are no rules prohibiting contact with the goalie outside of the crease. Why is that so hard for people to comprehend? If I’m mistaken, please give me a link or reference to the rule. Please.

      Lucic plays the game physically, and he is earning himself a questionable reputation, there is no doubt about that, but he did not line up Miller from a distance, he was trying to get after the puck & Miller met him there. Lucic didn’t try to avoid Miller, nor did Miller go out of his way to avoid Lucic. He was just counting on him observing this “unwritten rule”.

      Bet you Miller thinks twice about coming out of the crease next time though.

      • fishingsnydz - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:57 PM

        There is most definately a rule about not hitting goalies outside of the crease.

        Rule 69.4 Contact Outside the Goal Crease – If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

        A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.

        There was absolutely no attempt to not hit miller at all….he even raised his stick and hands into millers upper body to make the hit worse…

    • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      If Lucic had actually played the puck he probably would have scored with Miller so far out of his crease.

  18. stakex - Nov 13, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    If the goalie gets into a race to the puck 20 feet fron the crease…. he should be fair game when he touches it (unless he covers it, which would probably be a delay of game penelty). We can debate all day long if the hit itself was clean, but the fact that Miller paid a price for coming out so far to play the puck shouldn’t be a controversy. This wasn’t a goalie being bowled over in the crease…. it was a 3rd defensemen playing the puck. Why should he be off limits in terms of throwing a check? If a goalie doesn’t want to be hit…. they should stay in the crease.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Nov 13, 2011 at 4:05 PM

      I agree with what you are saying and I don’t. In this situation he didn’t need to run him over. A goalie will most likely always be defenseless, it’s not easy to move in those pads LOL No suspension, just shouldn’t have done it in the first place in my opinion. If there was no penalty on the play then it wouldn’t be a big deal. In theory this was an illegal play due to the charge and thus this should be considered a bad play on Boston. I don’t know if any of this makes sense HA :)

    • fishingsnydz - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      If you have that belief then tel lthe NHL to change their rule because you cannot intentionally hit a goalie out of the crease it is illegal! The goalie is not fair game, incidental contact is only allowed when a player makes an effort to avoid contact which there was none at all, he raised his arms and checked miller in the head/ upper body.

  19. hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Saw a play like this once in Lightning game years ago.. Only the Goalie (Corey Schwab) plowed over the player that was racing towards the puck.. The crowd loved it and no penalty was called..

    It is an interesting argument in theory.. but in reality goaltenders can’t be fair game because there are so few on each team and they are so vital to a team’s success. Goaltenders are as big of stars as the position players in front of them..

    Personally, I hope Miller isn’t out too long because I enjoy watching him play the game. Even if I’d rather my team not have to play against him.

  20. boltsfan777 - Nov 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    I have no love for the Bruins, but there seems to be a lot of fake outrage these days about team playing within the rules. Personally, I thought the hit was a punk move and was avoidable (at least a direct hit was avoidable), and I truly hope Miller will be OK, but was a rule violated? There will always be grey areas in all sports, and it seems Miller was making a gutsy play, and he paid the price, and Lucic made sure of it. Sometimes both players bear responsibility.

    I understand there is big money invested in the stars, but the rules should apply to all players, not just the stars. Should there be players designated as unhittable? Of course that’s where fighting and enforcing comes in.

    One day, the game is played not hard enough, the next day it’s played too rough. Now, of course there will be over-reaction and a call for a new rule.

    The Bolts were criticized last week for their “passive” 1-3-1 defense (seemingly because the Flyers forgot that whoever has the ball or puck has to do something with it to engage the play, no matter what the sport is) and now the Bruins are criticized for playing too rough.

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