Tag:Milan Lucic
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:09 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 1:17 pm
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USA Hockey, Hockey Canada to ban junior fighting?

The Rangers' Brandon Prust (right) in a 2004 OHL fight. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The discussion of fighting in hockey has been ramped up recently for some obvious reasons. Now USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are on the verge of making the biggest statement yet in the discussion to date.

The New York Times reported this week that the two organizations are looking at banning fighting altogether in the junior ranks.

Viewing fighting as a safety issue in light of increasing concussion research, and unwilling to wait for the National Hockey League to propose changes, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada are seriously considering rules that would effectively end fighting in nonprofessional leagues as soon as next season.

The rules would apply to dozens of leagues stretching from near the Arctic Circle to south Texas. Even the three top junior leagues in Canada, major fight-friendly feeder systems to the N.H.L., are considering immediate ways to make fighting a rarity, not an expectation.

“The appetite is there,” said David Branch, the president of the Canadian Hockey League, which oversees the Ontario Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. “The time is certainly right to move forward.”

Talk about a big move. This would have as big an impact as anything in the discussion that continues. These are the leagues that pump the most talent into the NHL. We're talking about the WHL, OHL, QMJHL and USHL among those that this would effect.

It's important to keep in mind that these are players who aren't paid. Chris M. Peters of United States of Hockey notes that is an important distinction to make.

It’s a different story in Junior hockey. These kids don’t get paid (for the most part). While fighting might fill a few seats here and there, the more significant number of people who go to USHL games are families looking to have a little fun at the arena. Maybe it’s different in the Canadian Hockey League, but I’d imagine a good deal of the folks heading to rinks across the little big towns in Canada are going to get a glimpse of future NHL Stars. Whether those future stars knock the snot out of each other is irrelevant to their enjoyment.

Besides, who over the age of 20 would want to admit that the reason they go to Junior hockey games is to watch a 17-year-old get pumped by a 19-year-old?

Peters goes on to note a study that shows that younger brains are actually not prepared to withstand trauma as well as somebody who is older for a variety of reasons, including the strength of their necks.

You don't need me to tell you that fighting is a huge part of junior hockey. But there are a lot of worthwhile points to getting rid of for the junior ranks and that's on the verge of happening. It has already happened at the NCAA and international levels.

There are going to be a lot of people opposed to this, of course. Bruins tough guy Milan Lucic is one who doesn't like the idea. He was known to drop the gloves a time or two in juniors.

“I’m totally against it,” Lucic told The Province on Wednesday.

“I think there will be more injuries because there’d be no fear of fighting. The game will become dirtier. And, for myself, I don’t think I could have made the NHL the way I did without it.”

That might be the case, it might not be. But we might find out soon.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Category: NHL
Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 3:45 pm
 

NHLPA poll really likes Pavel Datsyuk

To recap: Datsyuk is a joy and a pain to play against all at once. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

This Pavel Datsyuk fellow is a pretty good player.

In the NHL Players Association's annual poll, Datsyuk was voted as the best in six of the superlative categories. In addition to being named the most difficult player to play against and the league's smartest player (with a strong 45 percent saying as much) he was also voted the hardest to take the puck from, toughest forward to play against, the cleanest to play against and he was voted the toughest to stop by goaltenders.

What, no interesting man in hockey?

The Bruins and Rangers were also popular among the players for some of the superlatives. No surprise here, but Zdeno Chara was named the hardest shot, Milan Lucic called the toughest player in the league (ahead of teammates Chara and Shawn Thornton), Patrice Bergeron the most underrated player and Chara the toughest defenseman to play against.

For the Rangers, Marian Gaborik was called the best skater as well as the fastest, Henrik Lundqvist was named the most difficult goalie to score on and John Tortorella was voted as the coach who demands the most from his players.

There are a lot more categories that were voted on and you can check them all out here, including the top five vote getters in each category.

But another worth sharing here is definitely the biggest surprise in my eyes. A total of 53 percent of the players do not think the instigator rule should be removed from the game. Considering how vocal a lot of players have been in their dislike for the rule, it was certainly an eye-opener for me.

What wasn't shocking, however, was to see Datsyuk dominate the voting. Fans love the guy because he's a joy to watch, media members love the guy because he's a good quote and apparently players love the guy because he does everything well. If there were a player that this stupid cliché ever fit perfectly, it's Datsyuk: He plays the game the right way.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 17, 2012 10:37 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 1:54 pm
 

Milan Lucic's church in Vancouver vandalized

The vandals left this in their wake. (Vancouver Sun)

By Brian Stubits

OK, isn't this Bruins and Canucks rivalry going a little too far now? I mean, it probably crossed that line a while ago but if you didn't think it had, this will probably change your mind.

The above is a photo of Bruins forward Milan Lucic's family church back in Vancouver, his hometown. It was taken by Lucic's girlfriend Brittany Carnegie after some vandals thought it was a good idea to deface it in the name of the Canuks. Sorry, I mean Canucks, got confused after looking at the handiwork of some obviously hardcore fans.

We took some photo editing liberties to tone it down, so in case you were wondering, just by any off chance, what the entire image looked like/said, here's a description from the Vancouver Sun.

On the side of the St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church is large, black graffiti that reads “F--k Lucic” and “Go Canuks (sic) Go,” along with crudely drawn genitalia.

“This is DISGUSTING!” Carnegie wrote. “Punks did this to Milan beloved church! So disgusted!”

Lucic hasn't been exactly treated kindly by his hometown since the Bruins beat the Canucks in an intense seven-game series. Posters of him have been defaced in the city and a brawl broke out when he showed up at a Greek festival. So yea, he's kind of a big deal there.

I'd admonish the hockey fans of Vancouver here for giving themselves another black eye, but I can't. I just can't call these guys Canucks fans. Isn't it a requisite to spell the team's name right to be called a fan? This had to be the work of the same type of fan who decided it was a good idea to wreck their city after losing the final game.

Speaking of which, the first sentence has been handed down to a rioter and it was for 17 months. Granted, said rioter had a history that greatly contributed to that sentence so it was abnormal, but point is we should start seeing some more soon.

In the meantime, let's leave this rivalry on the ice. That's more than entertaining and heated enough already.

H/t to Puck Daddy

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 1, 2012 2:01 pm
 

Canadiens take exception to Gaustad's chirp

By Brian Stubits

Go back a few months and it was the Buffalo Sabres who were being picked on, called out for being soft or whatever other similar insult people could come up with.

The shoe is on the other foot today. That's nice for a change in what has been a pretty miserable season for Buffalo up to this point.

The Sabres began the post-All-Star break push with a 3-1 win on the ice in Montreal. Paul Gaustad had a point on each of those three goals, so he was probably pretty jacked up. But with a few seconds left and the lead up the eventual 3-1 game-winning margin, there got to be some chirping by the benches.

None of this should strike you as unusual (except Gaustad recording three points in one game). Chirping happens all the time. But the Canadiens didn't like something that Gaustad had to say, specifically him asking Max Pacioretty "Where's Chara?"

That line shouldn't need a refresher at this point, but just in case it does, here you go.

Not to be outdone, the Habs responded by asking Gaustad "Where's Lucic?" referencing the situation earlier this season where Lucic ran over Ryan Miller and the Sabres didn't have much of a response.

Again, none of this is usually a big deal. That's mostly because this stuff normally doesn't make its way into the media. But this one obviously has thanks to the Habs, specifically Mathieu Darche and goaltender Carey Price. Here's Darche after the game last night (from the Buffalo News).

Price had some comments of his own, saying "He's got a big mouth and he likes to run it. What can you do? Can't worry about what he's got to say. He doesn't do much out there."

Seeing how that all took place in the Canadiens locker room after the game last night, the first chance the Sabres had to talk about it publicly was on Wednesday at the morning skate. Gaustad was pretty frank when discussing the matter (again from the Buffalo News).

"I'm just going to address it for the last time today," Gaustad said. "It's something where Pacioretty said something to me, I said something back along the same lines and the guy that kind of brought it up in the media [Montreal's Mathieu Darche] wasn't even involved with it. For Darche to bring it up in the media, in my opinion is stuff on the ice stays on the ice. I don't want to blow it out of proportion. You have to have thick skin in the NHL. I'm fine with it. Just move on."

Hey, maybe the NHL has a new marketing partner in Las Vegas: What happens on the ice stays on the ice.

Lindy Ruff isn't one to shy away from making comments on these matters either, so he had his piece. Again, not much on the mincing words front.

"I could give you one situation every night [where there is trash-talking]," Ruff said. "For them to go public that I thought was ridiculous on their part. They were looking for something to talk about or feel good about after that game and they're barking up the wrong tree if you ask me."

It brings that old unwritten rule book conversation again. What is in bounds as far as trash-talking goes? It's pretty clear that we have some differing opinions from the Canadiens and Sabres concerning injury chirps. But what's the line, if one is even there? If there were one of decorum, there's little doubt Pacioretty's would be off limits, it was a vicious hit that left him with a broken neck.

As Ruff says, there is trash-talking all the time. It's pretty much a part of the game, you know it comes with the territory. Behind the scenes shows like HBO's 24/7 have helped make that plenty clear to those who haven't played hockey or been on the ice.

I've chatted with somebody whose job it was to open the penalty box doors and he had some great stories about the cross-box trash talk, names omitted of course. There isn't a whole lot that's sacred ground.

You be the judge on this one: Did the Sabres cross the line here or are the Habs wrong for making it public?

By the way, doesn't this have to really make the Bruins and their fans laugh? Two division rivals taunting each other with things Bruins players have done to each?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:41 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 3:30 pm
 

Report: Thomas called selfish; Speculation starts

Thomas had a chance to be heard and he took it. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The biggest non-news story of the hockey season -- the defending champions visiting the White House and meeting the President of the United States -- is mushrooming into one of the bigger stories this season. Sadly, that might not be hyperbole based on the latest reports out of Boston.

By now you surely know about Tim Thomas' decision to not join his teammates on their trip to the White House. He instead chose to skip it as a protest to what he later revealed in his Facebook statement is the ever-expanding reach of the federal government. It ignited a wildfire that's leading people to thinking some awfully irrational things.

First, here is what is being said from within the Bruins organization, outside of their public statements. From Fluto Shinzawa at the Boston Globe:

It was Timmy being Timmy.

“[Expletive] selfish [expletive]," one team source said.

But that's not the view from everybody. Milan Lucic was on the record saying it didn't bother him and Shinzawa reported two team sources didn't believe Thomas' decision would have any negative effects in the locker room, it's par for Timmy's course.

Sounds pretty similar to another player in Boston sports (Manny Ramirez, anyone?) In the case of Ramirez, the Red Sox put up with his antics for some time before he was eventually pushed out of town.

Could that actually be a possibility for Thomas? After all, as Shinzawa writes (and makes clear with Timmy being Timmy) he is a bit of a lone wolf. He's a goaltender, and you know it's OK to categorize every goalie out there as a wackjob.

The answer is maybe, according to Shinzawa.

Thomas’s decision, however, may be the first step in goalie and team parting ways. His no-movement clause expires at the conclusion of this season. Thomas has one more season remaining on his four-year, $20 million contract. Rask, a restricted free agent at year’s end, should be ready to assume the starting job in 2012-13.

Now you know this story is getting out of hand. Look, I'd understand trading Thomas from a hockey perspective. I think it would be a mistake and would be stupid, but I understand it. He's up there in age at 37, his value is still incredibly high and Tuukka Rask has proven to be more than capable. The hockey aspect makes sense ... except when you remember that Thomas is arguably still the best in the world and can lead the Bruins to back-to-back Stanley Cups this season. Don't forget that little aspect of the equation.

I haven't understood this whole soap opera at any point. I've seen people complaining that Thomas decided to politicize an event that wasn't about politics. The way I see it, this was the most political thing any of the Bruins players have done in their careers. It's certainly more political than all the time they spend playing games, practicing or traveling. Should he instead have had a grandstanding session after a November shutout in the locker room? He was presented with a chance to make a political statement and he took it.

Further, I'd argue that this didn't take away from the Bruins' day at the White House at all. What this Thomas story did is actually make people remember that the Bruins visited the White House period. It's an event that is a photo op where the honoring from the president lasts literally less than 10 minutes. A lot of people have no idea that the St. Louis Cardinals just had the same honor a week ago. It was hardly news.

But now? Oh, everybody knows the Bruins visited the White House as the reigning champions. This whole saga has only shined a brighter light on the visit.

There are others that don't care what Thomas has to say about politics, he's just a hockey player. I see that all the time and it irritates me to no end. So because somebody is an athlete they can't have their own ideologies? The difference between Thomas and that neighbor of yours who litters his yard with political signs is that Thomas has a bigger platform. He wanted to get a message across and he did it.

I don't know who the source was that so eloquently called Thomas selfish, obviously. But I'd bet that even that person wouldn't want Thomas off the team. I was in the locker room with the Bruins last night, we in the media saw Thomas walking around munching on a postgame snack and going into the changing area with the other players. He didn't appear to be in any kind of awkward state of avoidance.

I can't see how this becomes a seriously divisive issue as some make it out to be. Are the other guys going to be so upset that they stop playing in front of Thomas and hinder their own goal of repeating as champs? Or might it be a distraction with the team and Thomas being asked about it?

Doubtful. Thomas is a strong-willed person, that's evident. He said in his Facebook statement that this was the only thing he was going to say on the whole fiasco. That's it. When he is eventually asked by the media, you already know he is going to defiantly say he's not talking about it. That will be that.

So Thomas has a bit of a selfish side and this let it be seen to the rest of the world. So what? Chalk it up to goalies being goalies (or Timmy being Timmy, in this case) and move on, I have little doubt the players will.

In the meantime, I'm left wondering how many write-in votes Thomas will get in this year's presidential election because you just know he'll get some.

More from Eye on Hockey

B's hit break on slump by their standards
Thomas explains decision to skip White House
Bruins honored in visit to White House

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:36 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 6:32 pm
 

Bruins, Canucks offer plenty of craziness



By: Adam Gretz

The video you see above shows the play that earned Bruins forward Brad Marchand a five-minute major for clipping late in the second period of Saturday's Stanley Cup Finals rematch between Boston and Vancouver.

In the end, it proved to be a costly penalty for the Bruins as the Canucks took advantage of the extended power play, scoring a pair of goals that proved to be the difference in their 4-3 win. It was a game that did not fall short of the hype leading in to it. From the drop of the puck it was obvious there was no love lost between the two teams (or the fans) and it was non-stop craziness from start to finish, and it also may have given Brendan Shanahan a bit of extra work to do over the weekend in terms of supplemental discipline.

Not only will Marchand's hit most certainly be looked at by the league (Sami Salo, the player he hit, was not only injured on the play, but he never even had possession of the puck while Marchand made no attempt to play it), there's also the question of what will be done to Bruins forward Milan Lucic after he was ejected just six minutes into the first period for leaving the bench during a line brawl (which you can watch right here). ESPN Boston's James Murphy passed along the information during the game that NHL will meet after the game to decide whether or not he joined the scrum during a legal or illegal change.


If it is determined to be an illegal change he will be facing a 10-game suspension, which is the mandatory punishment for leaving the bench during a fight. Last season Eric Godard, then a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was hit with that punishment for leaving the bench during the now infamous February brawl between the Penguins and Islanders. A couple of weeks ago Tampa Bay's Steve Downie was hit with a $2,500 fine for a similar incident, avoiding the suspension because the NHL decided that he joined the play during a "legal" change and had a right to be in the game at that moment.

(UPDATE: The NHL rescinded the game misconduct to Milan Lucic after the game, meaning he's not likely to face any sort of a suspension.)

When all was said and done on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins and Canucks combined for over 100 penalty minutes, including four fighting majors, Marchand's major penalty for clipping, two game misconducts and two additional ten-minute misconducts. In other words: just another day at the office for the Bruins.

The Canucks' biggest issue in the Finals last season, when they lost to Boston in seven games, was their inability to score on the power play, scoring on just two of their 31 attempts. If you're going to beat the Bruins (and not many teams have recently) you're going to have to take advantage of the power plays they give you, and on Saturday Vancouver did just that, converting on four of 11 chances thanks to goals from Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson.

Cory Schneider, a Massachusetts native, was given the surprise start for the Canucks in goal and stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced, which also helped to provide us one of the more bizarre moments of the day. Even though it was Schneider between the pipes for the Canucks, the Bruins faithful spent most of the day heckling Roberto Luongo (despite the fact that, again, he wasn't playing), even starting a "we want Luongo" chant during the second period. The only real negative of the day for Schneider came midway through the second period when he and the Canucks were on the wrong end of a missing icing call by the officials (seen here), leading to Boston's second goal of the game off the stick of Rich Peverely. It was a blown call, but the lesson here is always play to the whistle.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Milan Lucic suspended 1 game



By: Adam Gretz


Zac Rinaldo said he was fine with the hit from Boston's Milan Lucic over the weekend. The NHL, however, was not fine with it.

The league announced on Monday afternoon that the Bruins forward has been suspended one game for his hit from behind during his team's 6-0 win over the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. Lucic will miss Monday's home game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Lucic was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting Rinaldo into the boards from behind late in the second period, which was part of an extremely physical game that Boston dominated on the scoreboard from the opening faceoff.

Even though Lucic was ejected for the hit, Rinaldo was quick to come to his defense.

“It’s hockey, you hit and go into the boards, I don’t think it was dirty at all,” said Rinaldo via Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly. “Shoulder-to-shoulder and just momentum. He’s big guy, maybe double my weight. His momentum carried him into the boards awkwardly. I don’t think it was dirty at all.”

Lucic responded again on Monday after the suspension was announced, taking his medicine.

"I don't think anyone's ever happy when they get suspended," Lucic said. "But you have to respect any decision they make. I do everything my power to keep it clean out there. I try my full-on best to follow [the NHL's] rules [on hitting].

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's disciplinary czar, did not agree.

"In spite of the fact Lucic sees Rinaldo's numbers and proximity to the boards, Lucic delivers a dangerous check from behind," said Shanahan. "Rinaldo makes no sudden movement either just prior to or simultaneous with the hit that contributes to making this an illegal check. Therefore, the onus is on Lucic to avoid this hit completely, or at the very least minimize it to a greater degree. Instead, Lucic follows through with his check driving Rinaldo high and hard into the glass."

Shanahan also added that Lucic's history of similar infractions, warnings and fines went into the decision to suspend him, as did the fact that Rinaldo suffered no apparent injury as a result of the play.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 18, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Milan Lucic has hearing for hit on Zac Rinaldo

By Brian Stubits

Milan Lucic might finally get hit with the Shanahammer.

The Bruins forward who has been in the crosshairs in the past for those watching Brendan Shanahan's suspension radar, has yet to be punished beyond on-ice infractions. That could change now as Bruins coach Claude Julien announced that Lucic will have a phone hearing with Shanahan for his hit on the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo in a 6-0 Bruins win on Saturday.

Here's a look at the hit and ensuing fight between Rinaldo and Nathan Horton.

The fact that Lucic is getting a hearing leads me to believe that this is one hit Lucic won't be able to get past with no punishment.

Of course the most notable instance of a hit that wasn't punished came earlier this season when Lucic ran into Sabres goalie Ryan Miller way outside the crease. People were split on whether the hit warranted a suspension, but Shanahan explained that he didn't think the intent was there.

In this case, while Rinaldo clearly wasn't injured, I'm not sure how much Lucic can argue that it was an accident, that it wasn't his intention. Just look at what he said after the game.

"I noticed he was in a bit of a vulnerable position," Lucic said. "I looked and watched the tape again in slo-mo and I looked at the point of contact and it was his shoulder more than anything. And you can see him turning ... when he was going into the boards.

"I'm just glad no one got hurt on the play."

Admitting to delivering a hit on a guy that you saw in a vulnerable position isn't going to get him any brownie points to start the conversation off.

But then Rinaldo came out on Sunday and said he had no problems with the hit, calling it clean and "shoulder to shoulder."

So score one in Lucic's defense.

At this point I'm very curious to hear what the verdict will be. Rinaldo wasn't hurt and he had no problems with the hit, but it was a potentially dangerous play. I don't know if he'll be suspended for this or not, it's up in the air.

What I do know is that if he doesn't get suspended, this guy might have more lives than my cats. Likely there will be a lot of people feeling like the Bruins and Lucic got away with another one (judging from comments on all of the Lucic stories).

So, how many games, if any, jury?

More NHL Discipline News Here

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com