Lucic insists hit on Nash was clean

Lucic insists hit on Nash was clean
February 21, 2013, 4:15 pm
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TAMPA – Milan Lucic heard about the noise coming out of New York that perhaps there was something illegal or underhanded about a hit he put on Rick Nash that might have concussed the Rangers superstar.

He also thinks it’s a bunch of baloney. Lucic was bearing down on the fore-check in the third period of Boston’s shootout loss to the Rangers last week when he blasted Nash into the boards behind the New York net. Nash was angered after the hit and took a hooking penalty shortly after the two big bodies collided, and the hit actually helped swing the momentum for Boston’s third period comeback.

But now Nash has missed a couple of games for unspecified reasons, and New York Post columnist Larry Brooks said it’s a concussion stemming from the Lucic collision in Boston.
Here’s an excerpt from Brooks' column earlier this week:

The NHL has a quagmire like last night’s aesthetically displeasing match at the Garden, in which the Canadiens registered a 3-1 victory over a Rangers team that was comatose without Rick Nash, sidelined with what are believed the after-effects of taking such a blow from Milan Lucic in Boston a week ago last night.

The Rangers aren’t saying anything about the condition of Nash, who played two days after taking the unpenalized hit and then again three days after that despite a couple of days that we know of, when he wasn’t feeling well. No one is saying whether No. 61 is suffering post-concussion symptoms. Perhaps more to the point, no one is saying he isn’t.

A blow to the head cleverly and maliciously disguised as finishing a check, and a wink and nod from the league.

The Bruins power forward remembered the titanic body check well when asked about it Thursday morning, and – much like the NHL – didn’t see anything wrong with a finished hit while battling for the puck. It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that there was some collateral damage in a puck battle between two of the league’s strongest men.

Good, old-fashioned physical play is the bread and butter of Lucic’s game, and the check on Nash would be described as good, hard hockey in most corners of the NHL. It should also be noted that Nash finished the game against the Bruins, and played two subsequent games before the Rangers power forward missed any time.

“I watched it again, and I didn’t jump and my elbows were down. He’s taller than me, right?” said Lucic. “I think he’s like 6-foot-4 and it was one of those things where I hit him and his head hit the glass [afterward]. It’s unfortunate for them and it’s unfortunate for Rick that he might be out because of that hit. But I have to play a certain [physical] style and Cam [Neely], Peter [Chiarelli] and Claude [Julien] all expect me to play that way.

“I’m just trying to fore-check and do my job. I’m just trying to do what I get paid to do. I don’t hit dirty. I’ve had one [supplemental discipline] call about a hit in my six years so far. So you can criticize me if you want, but whatever. I’ve had dings where little guys have hit me too, but I was fortunate that I didn’t have to miss any time. If I targeted the head then the league would have been looking at it very closely. We’ve got our own team here and our own things to worry about.”

For the record Lucic now has 1,002 registered hits over six plus seasons in the NHL and only has been called into question by the league once. So the B’s power forward and an NHL, which deemed the hit completely clean, probably deserve the benefit of the doubt in this case.