In Saturday's 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, forward Milan Lucic was given a major and was ejected for this hit from behind on Zac Rinaldo. The Flyers forward immediately entered into a fight with Nathan Horton, and the whole thing went something like this:
After the game, Lucic said this second-period incident shouldn't result in any supplemental discipline from the NHL (via the Boston Herald):
"I felt like I made every effort to take him out laterally and looked at the video and slow-mo'd it and looked at the point of contact, and there were no numbers. It was all shoulders," Lucic said. "You can see even him, his body rotating because I took him from the right side."
Coach Claude Julien saw it the same way. "A couple of things that come to mind to me: He let up and a player turned at the last second. It didn't appear to be a hit from behind," Julien said. "There was no intent, and they talk about guys letting up and he did. It was pretty obvious. Hopefully they'll look at it the same way we see it, and we'll go from there."
Alas, Lucic will in fact have a phone hearing with NHL player safety czar Brendan Shanahan about this hit, according to Joe Haggerty of CSN New England.
Will he receive a suspension? That depends on whether his actions meet the criteria for one, of course. Lucas Aykroyd recently chatted with Shanahan for IIHF.com and asked how he goes about determining the severity of the punishment. Said Shanahan:
Every decision on supplemental discipline has two parts to it. The first part is the trial and the second is the sentencing. Obviously, in the trial, when we look at the incident in the hearing, I'm trying to decide 100 percent whether this is a suspension.
In Phase Two, that's where we've decided there's going to be a suspension, and now comes the sentencing. That's where we apply questions like, "What is this player's history? What is the injury that was involved? What are all the details of the play that are pertinent? Was there a history between the players? Was it early in the game, or was it the last minute of a blowout?" These are all the numerous nuances and details that would go into determining what the number of games is.
("Was there a history between the players?" … that's an interesting one.)
So based on those questions … suspension for Lucic? We'd say no, if the injury aspect is weighed heavily. It's never really the best sell job when you bounce off the ice and engage in a fight.
By the way: No suspension for Erik Cole's high hit on Adam Larsson last night, according to the Star Ledger.