NHL rescinds Lucic's misconduct

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NHL rescinds Lucic's misconduct

BOSTON -- Just hours after the Bruins had fallen short in a heated 4-3 Stanley Cup rematch to the rival Vancouver Canucks, the NHL announced Milan Lucics game misconduct for leaving the bench during an altercation had been rescinded.

The major penalty was coupled with a two-minute minor for roughing less than four minutes into the first period after Lucic arrived to the defense of Shawn Thornton getting swarmed by six Canucks attackers.

Video replays after the game confirmed that Lucic was perfectly in the right, but the damage was done with the Bs power forward missing the final 56 plus minutes of the game.

Video replays revealed Lucic with one skate on the ice and one skate on the bench at the time of the Thornton confrontation with Alex Burrows, who speared the Bs enforcer near the throat between the two benches. Daniel Paille, the player that Lucic was replacing on the fly, was standing in the bench area watching the entire confrontation.

So Lucic was within his rights to be on the ice, and really didnt deserve to be ejected from one of Bostons biggest games of the year. He had entered the ice legally over the boards and was about to step back onto the bench through the door when he changed course and joined a scrum.

"The referees reacted to what they saw," NHL Director of Officiating Terry Gregson said. "The only player they saw coming from the bench area from either team was Lucic. But with the benefit of replay, we can see that Lucic had previously entered the ice over the boards legally to join the play and actually was contemplating stepping back onto the bench through the door when the altercation ensued.

"It should be further noted that a review of the video confirmed that all players on both teams involved in the altercation had entered the ice legally for the purpose of joining the play. None entered the ice for the purpose of joining or starting an altercation, which is prohibited by Rule 70."

But it seemed the refs made the call under some duress to keep control of the game for the remaining 56 minutes, and Lucic ended up on the losing end of the equation in a game that could have gone much differently with No. 17 taking regular shifts on the ice.

I feel badly that they had seven guys on the ice and Looch was on a change and he gets ejected for coming in to my defense, said Thornton. So, I feel bad that we lose one of our best players after all that. But I guess thats the end of it."

Thornton attacked snapped back at Burrows with an unwitting Sedin caught in the crossfire, and that turned into six Canucks skaters along with two players on the bench holding him down attacking the forward like a prison-style group beating.

Im a big boy I can handle myself. Im not worried about that. I was more upset with the spear to the throat. I thought, I mean I dont lose my cool for no reason, said Thornton. Im a pretty I see myself as a pretty honest player. But, Im not going to let someone spear me in the throat. Im also a man so I stand up for myself.

Lucic jumped in along with Nathan Horton, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci among others to defend the fallen Thornton. At the time it seemed questionable whether the Bs power forward actually left the bench, but it was too late once the official call had been made that Lucic was done for the day. The Bruins coaching staff spent the rest of the day scrambling to replace Lucic and Brad Marchand after both players were thrown out of the game.

Give full credit to Benoit Pouliot and Gregory Campbell to filling into that humungous void, but its just not the same for a Black and Gold team looking for all of their firepower against a motivated Canucks bunch.

When you lose your top two left wingers you put yourself in a little bit of a whole, said Chris Kelly in the understatement of the year. But we had guys step up. I thought Pouliot had a great game getting juggled around the lineup, and helped set up that Peverley goal.

Following the game Bs coach Claude Julien felt Lucic would be in the clear in the eyes of Brendan Shanahan and the Player Safety Department, and he was eventually proven correct with this evenings announcement.

Im not blaming the referees theyre in the middle of a scrum there but Looch was on the ice already. It wasnt an illegal change; he didnt come off the bench, said Claude Julien. There are no issues there in my mind; its clear.

Whats unfortunate is that we lost a pretty good player early in the game, and thats what is more disappointing: A guy looking forward to playing this game, hes from Vancouver, and he gets tossed out, but he actually didnt do anything wrong. Well let the league, again, take care of that stuff because theres nothing more we can do.

The Bruins and Lucic have the consolation prize of the big wingers game misconduct being rescinded and a tacit admission by the league he did nothing wrong. But that doesnt do a lot of good when the proverbial has already been spilled with the game already lost to Vancouver, does it?

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.