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Yes, Milan Lucic did give Ryan Miller a concussion

Nov 13, 2011, 9:01 PM EST

Ryan Miller, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara AP

We suspected it earlier, and now it’s been made official — Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller suffered a concussion after being hit by Boston’s Milan Lucic in a 6-2 loss last night. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN got confirmation this evening from Sabres GM Darcy Regier, who said via text that Miller will be out indefinitely.

The news caps off a disastrous weekend for Buffalo. The Sabres spent much of yesterday publicly airing their grievances with Lucic, the officiating crew that worked last night’s game and eventually, themselves — center Paul Gaustad was openly critical of the way he and teammates failed to respond to their goalie getting bowled over.

That frustration spilled over to today, when a clearly-agitated Lindy Ruff balked on speaking with reporters after a team meeting, but not before muttering “F— the media.” He and Regier were tight-lipped for most of the day, although Regier later told the Buffalo News he felt the play warranted suspension.

“If this hit and other types of hits like this are not suspended, we are opening up the possibility of losing goaltenders to injury,” Regier said. “And not just injury, but concussion. … When I look at the position of goaltending, in a lot of ways it’s not unlike quarterback in football. I feel very strongly the protection has to be provided and players committing these types of action should be punished.”

Lucic received a two-minute charging minor on the play.

Upon announcing Miller would be out, the Sabres called up goalie Drew MacIntyre from AHL Rochester. He’s expected to back up Jhonas Enroth Monday night in Montreal.

UPDATE: TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports Lucic will have a hearing with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan tomorrow (Monday) at 1pm ET.

  1. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    but… but… everyone in Boston thinks it was a clean fair hit. that’s all that matters. Cheap shot, shouldn’t get suspended but pretty dirty

  2. sonofsamiam - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    No head shot. No stick work (at least by lucic). Penalty? Yes. Suspension? No.

  3. killerpgh - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Plan and simple. Put Thomas into the 3rd row next time. Then do the same with Rask. I have seen pee-wee teams stick up for their goalie more than the Sabres did.

  4. nirvanafan01234 - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    The Sabres have a history of not protecting Miller. Remember when Gomez got him in the skate with his stick and gave him an ankle sprain. I’m not even sure if Gomez got a good a good face washing with a glove over that.

  5. gallyhatch - Nov 13, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Very sad to hear this about Miller, he’s an awesome goalie and a great opponent. I am a huge fan of his despite being a Bruins fan.

    I hope he gets well ASAP.

  6. pastabelly - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Disciplinary hearing for a two-minute charging call? Maybe they fine him. But Miller assumes some risk when he leaves his crease.

  7. mmmpierogi - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    I’d have my fist in a guy’s teeth if he took a deliberate shot at my goalie’s head like that *after* he’d had played the puck. Way to stick up for your guy, Sabres.

    • revansrevenant - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:07 PM

      I don’t blame the Sabres. They don’t have the physical power to really do anything except get thrashed against the B’s. They should have thrown down immediately, and on the shift subsequently too. But they would have lost, badly, so I lay no blame on them for not doing so.

  8. alexo0 - Nov 13, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    Probably concussed himself on the dive after the actual hit.

  9. betrayedbylife - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    how many stories are going to be posted about this one event?

    • hystoracle - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:01 PM

      There is at least one more … once the meeting with Shanahan has concluded.. one way or the other.

  10. lameasish - Nov 13, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Gotta love good ol Canadian Lucic, scores goals, knocks ppl out, pure hockey player, try and bad mouth him!!

  11. billyhoyle4real - Nov 14, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Terry Pegula needs to enter his fancy new locker room and lay down the law that NOBODY pushes the blue and gold around and gets away with it and if the boys aren’t up for the challenge I’m sure Kassian is eager to see what the NHL is all about…

  12. stakex - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    I love how Darcy Regier acts like its open season on goalies, and makes it sound as tho Miller was minding his own business in the crease when he was hit. Not even close. He was in a foot race to a puck with an attacking player, and was no where near his crease.

    The fact of the matter is Miller made the decision to race Lucic to the puck. When he came 20 feet out of the crease to play the puck, he was more of a 3rd defensemen then he was a goalie… at which time I see no reason he shouldn’t be fair game as far as physical contact goes. When the goalie is in the crease, or playing the puck behind the net hes off limits. But the second he advances forward from his net, he should lose all protection of being a goalie.

    Bottom Line: If Miller just stayed in his crease…. he would have never been hit, and if so some odd reason he was THEN we could talk suspension on Lucic. I’m all for protecting goalies, but not when they are out of the net to play the puck like a defensman. This should be a teaching moment to all goalies: Stay in the net, or you risk getting run over.

    • balewsquare - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:13 AM

      I always thought goalies should be free game every time they play the puck. Maybe not behind the net in the “hitting zone,” or “thunderdome” or whatever that was, but everywhere else. And I played goal for 12 years. You come out, you get hit.

      ^Notice not a comment on this particular hit, have not seen it yet. Just goalies in general.

    • eggserino - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:54 AM

      On Twitter last night, Bob McKenzie stated that rule that makes the hit illegal: “Rule 69.4 says not fair game but if G plays puck outside crease incidental contact is permitted if player makes attempt to avoid contact.”

      Lucic made no attempt to avoid contact, in fact he sought out contact. This could be construed as intent to injure. It’ll be interesting to see how Shanahan handles this.

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        thank you for sharing this… I’ve been waiting to hear if it was in fact a legal hit or illegal. I always thought that you had to play the puck and not the player when you’re talking about goalies.

    • donttouchthedirtypenny - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      I don’t have a problem with Lucic contacting Miller. I have a problem with the Sabres (lack of) response.

    • lamontagne42 - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      I agree 100%. Well said.

  13. cowboys282 - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    I hope Shannon actually watches the game. After the hit Miller is very coherent. So much so that he even tussles with Lucic on a Power Play when Lucic is in front of the net. Miller not appearing disoriented.

    Later in the 2nd period a Buffalo player pushes Tyler Seguin into the net slamming into Miller and hitting his head. This was the Sabre who pushed Seguin’s fault. But if you watch the hit that is where Miller got the concussion. I really hope people realize this. Don’t believe me just watch the tape.

    • lamontagne42 - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:51 PM

      You are 100% correct, but the haters will just hang it all on Lucic.

      And as far as that goes – I understand the need to protect the goalies, but if the Goalie is going to race after a puck 20+ feet out of the crease @ a charging opponent – then I say it is the Goalies fault for getting run over. And that is all it was – plain and simple. There was shoulder to shoulder contact – no head contact.

      Suspension ???? I think not. Sorry Buffalo – but Man the “F” up. This is the NHL after all.

      ~D~

  14. rabidbillsfan - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    This goes way past the “Miller Hit”, later in that game, I want to say Horton(?) cross-checked Kaleta in the chops and nothing came of it besides the penalty. This team needs an injection of Adrenaline from one of it’s tough guys. I mean, yea, Kaleta clocked Chara, and Gerb plays all out against everybody, but Goose and Regeher and McCormick need to step up and just start laying the lumber and standing up. I get it, you don’t want to put your team in a bind by taking 20 mins. worth of penaltys, but after it was 4-1, 5-1, it honestly should have turned into a blood-bath. You will play these guys another 5 time this year, get under their skin now. So what if you lost, make them think twice for the next game about getting near Miller, or gingerly skating to the corner, or trying some funny bussiness on the side.

  15. lsxphotog - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    The fact of the matter is that Lucic was beaten to the puck, and he knew it. Knowing this with AMPLE time to break speed, he decided to carry out a body check at full speed on a goalie. There are rules for being an asshole and carrying out a dirty check when injury was the intent. Lucic clearly tried to hit him as hard as he could. That isn’t legal. Regardless of if he is a goalie or not, trying to injure another player is not legal. Miller getting a concussion will probably be the icing on the cake for getting a suspension here.

    • lamontagne42 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      Lucic was beaten to the puck – that is why he stopped skating. He did not hit him as hard as he could – that is laughable. He glided into him and they had shoulder to shoulder contact. Could he have avoided him ? Sure, but if a Goalie is going to come 20+ feet out of the crease and play as a defensmen, why should he be untouchable? He charged the puck out of the crease – WAY out of the crease might i remind you. There was no head contact and he could have hit him much harder than he did. Maybe the Goalies should think about that when they decide to race for a puck that far away.

      • lamontagne42 - Nov 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        And as for the concussion – that’s crap. He was fine after the hit, he was not disorientated. And he was also fine shortly after that when he was cross checking Lucic on the power play. The fact of the matter is – he didn’t hit his head on anything except his own goal when Seguin got pushed by Buffalo into the goal – taking Miller in with him. That is when Miller hit the back of his head – and it was the fault of his own player. But Nobody wants to talk about that ?!?! Miller just wants everybody to point the finger at Lucic because he embarrased him. Simple as that.

      • lsxphotog - Nov 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

        It’s clear from these statements you don’t play hockey and you’re potentially from Boston. There is a little thing called respect in the league – hockey in general. Just like when you fight someone you don’t continue punching them when they hit the ice. When a goalie comes out of the crease, it’s still your job as the skater on the opposing team to try and avoid the contact with him. Of course there are cases where accidents happen but, when I see that video, it doesn’t look accidental.

        He was beaten to the puck with enough time to react and either stop or turn away from the hit. Lucic said it was “too hard to stop” – he didn’t even try. I can stop in almost a split second or turn away in less time than he had, and I never made it past college hockey. In other words, Lucic could have. Had he said nothing, it would have been better. Saying I couldn’t stop is bogus. He had enough time to prepare himself for a good, clean check and didn’t think about ‘how am I going to avoid this’.

        I’m not saying the hit was a bad hit, it was just a dirty move that looked like he was trying to take Miller out. Also, you don’t need head contact to create a concussion or for Miller
        s helmet to erupt off his head from a “glide.” Hit’s to the head are just deliberate acts of injury that can lead to a concussion – other hits lead to concussion. You don’t always realize you have a concussion until much later on when you start to notice things are off. My brother has had 3 when he played and they always made themselves known differently.

  16. atteckus - Nov 17, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    I don’t dispute that Ryan Miller has head problems. I dispute that the Lucic hit caused any of them. I call the entire Sabres organization patent liars. No one, and I repeat, no one, ever, has discovered they had a concussion more than an hour after the traumatic event that caused it. The vast majority (99%) of people who suffer a concussion know it instantaneously, because they are knocked unconscious, see stars, can’t stand, can’t maintain balance, can’t focus their eyes and just can’t function properly. In the rarest of circumstances (1% or less), a delayed reaction occurs. The delay is no more than 20 minutes. Miller played the remainder of the first and all of the second period before he suddenly declared he has a concussion. That’s an hour after the Lucic hit, and that’s not possibly connected to it. Miller was ran into twice in net after the Lucic hit. One of those could have caused it. But the objective facts prove to a certainty that Lucic’s hit was not the cause of Miller’s head problems, most of which he had before he arrived in Boston for the game.

  17. michiganhockey11 - Nov 17, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Few years back when Hasek was playign for the wings, he came out on a play like that and basically gave a lunging poke check while doing a pad stack. The racing forward caught his pads and went head over heels. Hasek got a 2 minute minor for either tripping or interference. So what’s miller to do, come out and have Lucic flip over him and draw a penalty? Or make a play at the puck and chance getting ran thru?

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